4 area districts receive STEM education grants

DPI awards Cambridge, Columbus, Oregon, Verona districts grant to enhance programs
4 area districts receive STEM education grants

Four area school districts will receive one-time grant funding to help enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs, according to a Department of Public Instruction release.

Fifteen school districts will share $250,000 in state funding for innovative science, technology, engineering and mathematics education projects in the upcoming school year, according to the release.

The Cambridge School District received $14,186 for grades six through eight. The Columbus School District received $19,222 for grades six through eight. The Oregon School District received $19,222 for grades kindergarten through five. The Verona Area School District received $19.093 for grades kindergarten through five.

“STEM education is vital to our students and future,” State Superintendent Tony Evers said in the release. “These courses will take an innovative approach to engage, motivate and inspire students to spark their interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These fields hold so much potential as the source of innovation and entrepreneurship that drive economic development and the knowledge-based economy.”

The program is part of the 2013-15 state budget and requires applicants to provide a matching amount equal to 25 percent of the grant, according to the release. To be considered for the grant school officials also had to prove they would be able to sustain the programs beyond the initial funding.

The DPI received 70 grant applications requesting $1.2 million in funding, officials said. Grant applications were based on a needs assessment and included measurable objectives and a process for identifying school and student participants.

“Activities are to increase college and career readiness, close achievement gaps and encourage traditionally underrepresented students to consider STEM careers,” the release said.

Projects will incorporate collaboration with an institution of higher education, business, industry or a community-based organization that serves youth, according to the release.

“Demand for funding to expand student access to STEM coursework was strong,” Evers said. “Our school districts want to work with education, industry and community partners to make this investment for students. It’s especially important because grants target closing achievement gaps and reach out to students who are typically underrepresented in the STEM fields.”

Other districts that were awarded funding include the Altoona School District, the Franklin Public School District, the Gillett School District, the Green Bay Area Public School District, the Hartford Union High School District, the Kenosha Unified School District, the Menomonie Area School District, Milwaukee Public Schools, the Ripon Area School District, the Wausau School District and the West Bend School District.