ANDERSON — A grant of more than $72,000 will help Anderson schools meet a state mandate to expose all K-12 students to computer science standards by 2021.
Anderson Community Schools interim Superintendent Joe Cronk said he’s thrilled his district was selected for the Indiana Department of Education science, technology, engineering and mathematics acceleration grant. STEM education has been a priority for several years for the state and districts serving students in Madison County and surrounding communities.
“This grant will provide high-quality STEM instruction to students within our school,” Cronk said. “STEM careers are in high demand in today’s economy, and exposure to these disciplines and quality instruction is crucial to our students’ futures.”
IDOE officials reported nearly 100 applications were received for the fifth round of STEM acceleration grants.
The grant will be used to provide training this summer through the Zoom online platform for K-5 teachers and for sixth-grade instructors who teach science.
ACS K-6 eLearning Instructional Coach Andrea Meadows wrote the proposal for the grant, which will be used primarily to introduce K-5 students to the computer standards using a Project Lead the Way curriculum. The initiative is one of many in ACS to help infuse STEM education into curriculum.
“Eventually, we hope to expand it so there is one Project Lead the Way module per quarter,” Meadows said.
She has already gone through the training, which focuses on project-based learning that enables teachers to be more like facilitators rather than traditional givers of knowledge.
“I was very impressed with the rigor of what Project Lead the Way presents, but it also does it at an age-appropriate level,” she said. “That’s a different method than a lot of students have been exposed to before. We’ll see a lot of building of the critical-type thinking skills.”
Meadows said the program will be flexible enough for effective use for both in-person classes and distance learning, which may be necessary because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the event we have an extended closure next fall, Project Lead the Way is planning to have all their curriculum online if necessary,” she said.