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PROJECT LIFT AIMS TO GET STUDENTS NETBOOKS, INTERNET ACCESS

When Symyra Prescott needed to trim her household budget, she dropped her Internet service. So she was delighted when her daughter's school, Statesville Road Elementary, offered the chance to buy a netbook and get a year's broadband Internet access for $150.Prescott and her daughter, second-grader Syah, are part of the first wave of families tapping into technology through Project LIFT, a five-year, $55 million quest to boost academic achievement in nine West Charlotte schools. The computer and Wi-Fi package would normally cost $1,250, but the effort is subsidized by Project LIFT (for Leadership and Investment for Transformation) and Microsoft's "Shape the Future" program. Eighty-three families bought the packages in December. LIFT leaders hope to sell about 400 more starting this month. And Microsoft is using the LIFT project, along with a similar effort in Seattle, as models for a national push to get Internet access to 1 million low-income families.

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Charlotte Observer