published Friday, August 31st, 2012

Whitfield High School literacy lab open to adults, students

LITERACY LAB

• Address: 954 Riverbend Road

• Phone: 706-876-7000 or 706-226-2753

• Website: http://www.whitfield.k12.ga.us/shs/

Source: Whitfield County Schools

A community literacy lab opens today at Whitfield County's Southeast Whitfield High School thanks to a $100,000 grant from hardware retailer Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation.

Dubbed the Raider Nation Literacy Lab, the public service will bring the Internet, computer technology and books together to enhance users' resource skills, provide opportunities for lifelong learning and develop technical abilities as part of job skills, officials said.

"We're hoping to be up and running in the second week of September," Southeast Whitfield High School Principal Karey Williams said Thursday before an open house.

Officials still are working out an operating schedule and staffing, Williams said.

Williams said Southeast teacher Anne Childers, with help from then-principal Brian Satterfield, applied for the grant a couple of years ago.

"She spearheaded the effort to write the grant and, with a committee of people, kind of put together the vision of what the lab could be," Williams said. "We think it ties in perfectly with our literacy movement."

Childers called the lab opening "gratifying."

The lab is "a resource for people in our community," she said. "We have a diverse population that doesn't always know about the resources available."

A school-based lab has an advantage in being able to send information home with students to inform the whole community, Childers said.

"It's going to facilitate for promoting our school as a hub for our community for communitywide learning and activities," she said. Officials probably will start operating a couple of nights a week and will add more operating hours as activities develop.

In July, officials from Whitfield County Schools, Dalton Public Schools, the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners and the Dalton City Council pledged their support to improve literacy in the community, according to organizers with Lowe's.

Lowe's Foundation Chairman Marshall Croom said in a news release, "By supporting schools like Southeast Whitfield High School, we believe we are contributing to a cause that's important to our customers and employees and helping build a stronger foundation for the children who will be tomorrow's employees, homeowners and community leaders."

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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