Cherokee Preservation Foundation has provided more than $1.75 million to support the construction of a dedicated broadband connection, WNC EdNet, that brings together 60 educational sites — primarily public schools, colleges and administrative offices — around the seven westernmost counties of North Carolina and the Qualla Boundary.
The Foundation collaborated with the Western Region Educational Services Alliance (WRESA), the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Golden Leaf Foundation, the Business and Education Technology Alliance, the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center and the Public Schools of North Carolina so that rural students in western North Carolina can achieve the same levels of learning as students in more urban areas and compete in our global society.
More recently, the emphasis has been on engaging regional educators and students in decisions about how to utilize technology in the classroom. The Foundation funds student participation in annual Technology in the Classroom conferences presented by WRESA. The conferences include a student competition centered on technology applications.
Cherokee Preservation Foundation also provides the funding for students and teachers to engage in regional collaborations. A number of schools have formed student advisory councils and engaged in projects such as students teaching educators how to use Web 2.0 communications tools, and creating a school web site whose content is created by students.