State of Michigan and HP [Hewlett Packard] Partner on FTL [Freedom to Learn]

February 24, 2004

The statewide program, designed to enhance students’ academic performance through technology, provides computer access to thousands of public school children throughout the state. The contract is valued at up to $68 million over four years.

“I am very happy to have this contract finalized and our statewide partner, HP, onboard with Freedom to Learn,” Michigan House Speaker Rick Johnson said. “From the very beginning, Freedom to Learn has been about one key partnership – partnering Michigan students with new tools to help them learn. Now, we are ready to take the next step, together with HP, to offer even more students the opportunities that come through Freedom to Learn and our ability to reach kids through a one-to-one relationship with their teachers.”

“HP is proud to be working with the state of Michigan to help fulfill its education and information technology goals,” said George Warren, director of HP’s K-12 line of business. “Through our best-in-class products and services, as well as strategic partnerships with industry leaders, HP is able to offer a complete education solution to the state of Michigan.”

The Freedom to Learn program is targeting Michigan’s middle school students, with the possibility of eventually reaching up to 132,000 sixth-grade students. While the actual number of participants depends on school participation and funding levels, the HP package could reach as many as 40,000 students in the first year.

In order to participate, school districts must submit a grant application for FTL funding, which will provide $250 per student in the program for the first of the four-year program. FTL is funded by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. Financial support will be limited to high-priority schools, especially those not making adequate yearly progress as part of the NCLB Act; however, all school districts may submit an application as an expression of interest in the program.

HP provided a complete FTL education package customized to meet the goals of the state. Included in the HP solution is curriculum aligned to national and state standards, teacher professional development, and a centralized learning portal hosted on HP technology, utilizing Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and Microsoft Class Server and modeled on the Intel supported Managed Learning System. This statewide portal will provide teachers, parents, and students with powerful communication and collaboration tools and create a more personalized learning environment.

The Freedom to Learn program is operated jointly by the Michigan Department of Education and Michigan Virtual University.

Tom Watkins, Michigan’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, is pleased with the HP package. “More than just technology, HP is offering a well-rounded package that should truly help improve both teaching and learning in our state. Technology, put in the hands of students and teachers, will create some really powerful tools and exciting learning opportunities.”

Michigan Virtual University President David Spencer praised the details of the HP solution. “Working with our K-12 partners, we have developed an education package that could well become a national model. From the infrastructure technology to the digital curriculum to the teacher professional development component, we have integrated the critical elements to ensure a successful program.”

HP has developed strategic partnerships with industry leaders such as Intel, Microsoft, Classroom Connect and Education Testing Services (ETS) to build collaborative, customized and agile technology infrastructures.