MCNC Announces School Connectivity Celebration May 7

Join state leaders to celebrate completion of the N.C. School Connectivity Initiative, which connects all 115 K-12 school districts to the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN).

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (April 9, 2009) – MCNC, on behalf of the North Carolina Board of Education, today announced that all 115 K-12 Local Education Agencies throughout the state are now connected to the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) and are hosting a celebration honoring the completion of the N.C. School Connectivity Initiative on Thursday, May 7, at 12 p.m., at the N.C. Department of Public Instruction building in Raleigh.

The celebration will focus on recognizing the leadership of Gov. Bev Perdue, the North Carolina General Assembly and the University of North Carolina system, who were the driving forces behind funding the initiative.

“The N.C. School Connectivity Initiative provides local school districts with the connectivity and access to technologies that help prepare today's students for the careers of tomorrow,” said Joe Freddoso, president and CEO of MCNC. “The fast implementation was achieved through collaboration among the Department of Public Instruction, eNC, North Carolina Office of Information Technology Services, the Friday Institute, and private-sector service providers including AT&T, TimeWarner Cable, Embarq, Verizon, DukeNet and MCNC.”

MCNC is the parent of NCREN. The existence of this platform has been a foundation for connecting North Carolina researchers and students to each other. This connection has accelerated innovation and economic development throughout the state.

MCNC continues to increase the scope and reach of NCREN on a daily basis. The NCREN user-community now includes:

    * All 115 Public K-12 School Districts in the state
    * 17 Institutions of the UNC System and General Administration
    * 24 of the 36 North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities
    * 7 of the largest North Carolina Community Colleges
    * Research Institutions and Foundations

The N.C. School Connectivity Initiative is the result of North Carolina leaders’ desire for 21st century classrooms and development of a North Carolina workforce prepared to succeed in a global economy. It seeks to expand the number of schools with broadband Internet access, further develop communication networks for rural and underperforming schools, and develop a scalable model to maintain and enhance network services to all schools in North Carolina. 

Dr. Bill Harrison, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the N.C. Board of Education, will be the keynote speaker at the event. He was appointed to the board by Gov. Perdue to fill an At-Large position. A native of Pennsylvania, Dr. Harrison has served North Carolina schools in a variety of capacities throughout his career.

About MCNC

MCNC is an independent, non-profit organization that employs advanced networking technologies and systems to continuously improve learning and collaboration throughout North Carolina's K-20 education community.  MCNC provides advanced communications technologies and support services that enable access to 21st century learning applications and offers the opportunity to improve teaching, learning, research and collaboration among North Carolina’s education community. For almost a quarter century, the 501c3 non-profit organization, MCNC, has operated a robust, secure, exclusive communications network that has connected the institutions of the University of North Carolina System, Duke University and Wake Forest University to each other, and through advanced research networks such as Internet2 and National Lambda Rail, to the world.

About NCREN

The North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) is one of the nation's first statewide education and research networks. It provides broadband communications technology services and support to K-12 school districts, higher education campuses and academic research institutions across North Carolina. MCNC offers the NCREN network, technology tools and services to guarantee equal access to 21st century learning by providing a future-proof technology network that is the foundation for change and innovation in our educational systems. It creates possibility and provides an equitable educational experience throughout the state.

Additional Quotes Approved For Use 

North Carolina Board of Education

"The School Connectivity initiative is critical to creating the kind of classrooms and learning environments that provide educators and students the content and the tools needed to truly make our students competitive in today's global economy and interconnected world," said Bill Harrison, N.C. Board of Education Chairman and CEO.

North Carolina Representative Joe P. Tolson (D - Edgecombe, Wilson)

"Thanks to the School Connectivity Initiative, every student, teacher and administrator in K-12 education in North Carolina has access to a platform for teaching and learning, K-20 collaboration and professional development that is the world's envy," said Rep. Joe Tolson, co-chairman of the Joint Information Technology Oversight Committee for the N.C. General Assembly and a member of Business Education Technology Alliance (BETA). "Now is the time to launch to even greater heights from this solid foundation."

North Carolina Office of Information Technology Services

"We have experienced an excellent working relationship and true cooperation among MCNC and ITS with the superior leadership that has been displayed to make the SCI a reality," said George Bakolia, Chief Information Officer at the North Carolina Office of Information Technology Services.