Students in Nader Twal’s philosophy class at Millikan High School are continuing their "virtual classroom" with environmental science students at a New Jersey high school, thanks to a $40,000 grant from Verizon. Piloted last year, the ELEVATE program uses advanced video conferencing equipment to bring the two groups of students together in meaningful conversation. By focusing on an important local environmental issue—this year it’s deer overpopulation in New Jersey—students learn to sustain ethical discussions in order to implement thoughtful reforms. Conferenced classes take place once a week. Last year, Verizon offered the unobtrusive conferencing equipment at a steep discount. The Long Beach Education Foundation and LBUSD technology leader Vanitha Chandrasekhar helped arrange for its purchase. This year’s grant will purchase laptops for students to use to improve their real-time interaction with their counterparts across the nation.