AN extraordinary commitment by Knapheide Manufacturing Company and the Knapheide family in support of a visionary plan advanced by the Quincy Public Schools Foundation marks a watershed moment in the history of the Quincy School District.
It was announced last week that the Knapheide company and family will partner with the school district and foundation to design, implement and sustain the information technology infrastructure needed to support the use of advanced technology in all classrooms and buildings -- a commitment of historic proportions whose impact will be felt far into the future.
The Knapheide commitment is a powerful reminder that education must be a top community priority and, importantly, provides a blueprint for sustaining a strong education system.
The Knapheide company has been a vital part of Quincy for 164 years, providing jobs and generations of community leaders since the Knapheide Wagon Company opened its doors in 1848 – 14 years after Quincy was incorporated as a town.
Now, in building this bridge to the future, that leadership will benefit new generations
Specifically, the Knapheide information technology team will work with the district to design, implement and sustain the infrastructure needed to support the use of advanced technology in all classrooms and buildings. The Knapheide family also will contribute significant funds toward the project.
These upgrades comprise the technology component of the foundation's $4 million DREAM BIG campaign, launched in 2010, and will create an exciting new world of learning opportunities. When completed, the work will provide network and wireless connections in all classrooms, a mobile digital environment, centralized IT infrastructure and devices to access the internet for instructional purposes.
The improvements will provide teachers with resources that will significantly enhance their effectiveness and enable students to achieve levels of success that would otherwise be unattainable. In many ways, the full benefit of these improvements, which will be felt in every school building and extended to every student, is unimaginable.
The need for such a major initiative is clear. School Board members and staff have characterized the district's technology infrastructure as "prehistoric" and warned that improvements must be made to prevent students from falling behind.
The cost of such improvements, however, has placed them well beyond the reach of the district, which has long struggled to overcome financial challenges that impair the district's ability to sustain a level of education historically considered among the best in the state.
The Knapheide commitment points the way forward.
In announcing the technology partnership, H.W. "Knap" Knapheide III, honorary co-chairman of the DREAM BIG campaign, aptly noted that, "Everyone has time, talent and/or resources of some kind to contribute to help improve our schools. Our company and family hope other businesses and individuals will embrace the opportunity to determine what they have to contribute to the cause at whatever level works for them."
We urge the community to heed this important message which, if widely embraced, would prove to be the greatest legacy of this partnership.
In ways large or small, everyone in the community has the ability to help ensure that we provide our students with the best possible education. The DREAM BIG campaign sets forth a well-defined path to that goal, identifying initiatives in curriculum, fine arts, athletics and endowment as well as technology.
The Knapheide technology commitment should inspire all in the community to think creatively about how they, too, can support the DREAM BIG effort and other community priorities.
We commend the Knapheide family for their exceptional commitment to the children of this community, and urge others to follow their lead in supporting the cause of quality education.