Brownstown receives $50K STEM Acceleration Grant


Brownstown Central Community School Corp. students will be immersed in STEM in the 2020-21 school year.

The Indiana Department of Education recently announced Brownstown is one of 34 Indiana school districts receiving a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Acceleration Grant.

The amount awarded varies based on enrollment. Those with enrollment below 2,000 can receive up to $50,000, which is what Brownstown received.

The grant will allow districts to accelerate, scale or implement a STEM curricula grounded in problem/project-based or inquiry-based pedagogy and incorporate teacher training and support, according to a news release from the Indiana Department of Education.

Superintendent Tim Taylor shared the good news on social media after the announcement Dec. 20.

"We are ecstatic about receiving the grant," he said. "It is pivotal in our efforts to infuse STEM into our curriculum and provide our students with learning opportunities.

The grant was completed and submitted by Director of Technology Will Hubbard, Assistant Superintendent Jade Peters and Taylor with assistance from Five-Star Technology Solutions.

Taylor said the corporation received letters of support for the grant from Brownstown Quality Tool and Automation, Brownstown Electric Supply Co., Lannett Co. and Jackson County Industrial Development Corp.

He said the grant will be used to supply professional development opportunities for staff on integrating STEM instruction into the everyday curriculum.

"It will provide our teachers with the tools and instruction necessary to effectively blend the STEM curriculum into everyday instruction," he said.

The Indiana General Assembly appropriated funding in fiscal year 2020 to the Indiana Department of Education for STEM program alignment.

A portion of the funds will be used to improve elementary and secondary student achievement and participation in STEM subjects throughout Indiana. The opportunity also will allow schools to expand STEM career exposure for students throughout the K-12 educational continuum.

In an effort to ensure a wide field of STEM practices for research purposes, a variety of awardees implementing various state and nationally recognized curriculum options were selected as grant recipients, according to the news release from the Indiana Department of Education. 

The state received 77 proposals for the competitive grant.

"A STEM education is vital to preparing our students for an ever-changing technological global economy," State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick said. "I commend our awarded schools for their commitment to STEM and for their dedication to equipping students with the 21st century skills necessary to thrive and be successful."

All applications were evaluated using the STEM Acceleration Grant rubric. The award selections were based on merit and quality as determined by points awarded for the criteria section and inclusion of all required information.

The competitive grant program and funds are awarded to districts with proposals demonstrating a plan for successful, effective and sustainable implementation consistent with the goals of the Indiana STEM six-year strategic plan. Those include:

  • Improve STEM instruction (100% of K-12 teachers will be trained in problem/project/inquiry-based approaches to learning)
  • Scale evidence-based STEM curriculum in classrooms (100% of K-12 schools will implement integrated, evidence-based STEM curriculum)
  • Foster early STEM career exposure (100% of K-12 schools will create and sustain robust STEM-related community partnerships in order to inform curriculum, instruction and student experiences to encourage college and career readiness)

Each school district or charter school receiving a grant will be required to report semiannually (at a minimum) to the Indiana Department of Education regarding the progress in meeting the objectives and annual targets described in the proposal.

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