Altoona, Menomonie among school districts receiving funds for STEM projects

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MADISON, Wis. (DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION NEWS RELEASE) -- Fifteen school districts will share $250,000 in state funding for innovative science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education projects in the coming year.

“STEM education is vital to our students and the future,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “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 one-time grant program provides up to $19,222 to help school districts enhance STEM course offerings. The program was part of the 2013-15 state budget and requires applicants to provide a matching amount equal to 25 percent of the grant. Evidence of sustainability beyond the grant was also part of the evaluation process.

The Department of Public Instruction received 70 grant applications requesting $1.2 million in funding. 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.
Projects range from cross-disciplinary STEM Implementation and a STEM Accreditation Project for elementary school students to STEM Infusion at middle school and Computer Science in STEM Education, Digital Design and Fabrication, and Bridging Gaps through STEM Education at the high school level. Approved projects will collaborate with an institution of higher education, business, industry, or a community-based organization that serves youth.

“Demand for funding to expand student access to STEM coursework was strong,” Evers added. “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.”

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