Math and Science Partnership Grants Announced
OLYMPIA — April 9, 2015 — How can young girls become more engaged in math and science? How are those subjects used in industry? And what does an engineering student go through?
Those questions, and others, form the heart of the most current group of Math and Science Partnership grants, which were announced recently.
A total of seven projects will be receiving the grants under these lead agencies:
- Educational Service District 112
- Marysville School District
- Olympic Educational Service District 114
- Puget Sound Educational Service District
- Seattle School District with Renton School District
- Steilacoom Historical School District with Eatonville and Rochester School Districts
- Western Washington University
The grants will be used to help increase student achievement in math and science. Specifically, the grants allow for partnerships between schools and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) faculty at institutes of higher education.
Kareen Borders, director of professional learning and assessment at ESD 114, said that the partnerships will provide opportunities to students they didn’t have before. “Partnerships between teachers and world-class researchers will enable Olympic ESD114 students to not only learn about STEM but to be scientists, technology experts, engineers, and mathematicians,” she said.
The seven grantees came from a pool of 14 proposals. Each was scored using six factors:
- Commitment and capacity of partnership,
- Demonstration of need and research base,
- Alignment of goals and objectives with professional learning needs,
- Efficacy of plan,
- Evaluation and accountability plan and budget and
- Cost effectiveness.
The MSP grant program is part of the federal Title II, Part B section of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The size of awards for each state is based on student population and poverty rates. Partnerships through MSP grants develop and implement programs that, among other benefits, focus on the education of mathematics and science teachers as a career-long process.
One grantee, ESD 112, is focusing specifically on females. According to Vickei Hrdina, the ESD’s regional science coordinator, only 24 percent of STEM careers are held by women in the United States. The ESD 112 project, called nPower Girls, will connect classroom teachers in some of the most geographically remote districts in southwest Washington to experts in STEM fields. It will also give participants, both girls and their teachers, a chance to attend week-long summer workshops to apply STEM content to solve real world problems.
State funding for the projects totals $1.9 million, to be split among the grantees. Awards, which have yet to be determined, range from $500,000 to $1.5 million and will be distributed during the course of the three-year grants.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.
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