Alabama Power Foundation gives $10,000 to provide distance learning for Anniston schools

ANNISTON, Ala. - May 22, 2007 - An effort to provide distance learning between Anniston city schools and Jacksonville State University has been aided with a $10,000 grant from the Alabama Power Foundation.

The fiber-optic system will allow instruction of classes at schools that might not have a teacher in a subject available at other schools. Interactive participation with Jacksonville State will allow some Anniston High School students to earn college credit.

“Distance learning equipment will allow us to expand the course offerings for students at the high school,” said Sammy Lee Fulton, Anniston superintendent of education. “The equipment will also allow us to provide professional development opportunities for the staff without the staff leaving the school. We appreciate the generosity of the Alabama Power Foundation.”

The contribution will be used to match funds provided by the Stewart Family Foundation, managed by former U.S. Sen. Donald Stewart. The Anniston project is part of an effort across Calhoun County to link all schools together through distance learning technology, and extend the virtual connection to Jacksonville State and Gadsden State Community College.

“What’s important is with organizations like the Alabama Power Foundation participating, along with cities and individual citizens, this will be a project that will pay big dividends many times over to the community in the years to come,” said state Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, who has worked the last four years on the issue.

Marsh estimates all Anniston city and Calhoun County schools will have distance learning capabilities by late next year. He said the “interactive grid” may be connected to other public sector facilities such as jails and police and sheriff’s departments.

“It’s a wonderful tool for the public sector to utilize. With fiber optic connectivity throughout the county, this should be available for the citizens of our county to use as well," Marsh said.

Ken Deal, area manager for Alabama Power, said the foundation seeks to improve the quality of life in communities throughout the state through programs such as the distance learning initiative.

“One of the chief goals of the Alabama Power Foundation is to augment and enhance education in our state,” Deal said. “The distance learning initiative, with its focus on connecting the schools among themselves, and two fine institutions of higher learning, is the perfect vehicle to make these dollars have lasting impact.”

The Alabama Power Foundation works to improve the quality of life of Alabamians and strengthen the communities in which they live. Since 1990, the foundation has provided more than $90 million in grants to worthy projects across Alabama. Details about the foundation are available at

More information on the Anniston school system is available at

Alabama Power, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO), provides reliable, affordable electricity to more than 1.4 million customers across central and south Alabama. Learn more about Alabama Power at