Boeing gives Education Foundation $181,000 for STEM

Charleston Regional Business Journal
November 14, 2011

The Education Foundation has been given a $181,000 grant from The Boeing Co. to extend its STEM Education Partnership program. The grant was announced today at the foundation’s Business Education Summit.

The program’s ultimate goal is to ensure the region has a pipeline of graduates in the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines to meet economic needs of the tri-county.

“We are very grateful to Boeing for this extraordinary opportunity to continue and extend the professional development program begun this year,” said Amy Kovach, chairwoman of The Education Foundation. “Through this grant, teachers will gain on-site experience in STEM-related businesses; participate in institutes on project-based learning, and how to build and sustain business-education partnerships; and implement new methods for teaching STEM to their students.”

According to a news release announcing the grant, project-based learning entails using real-world problems — which capture students’ interest and stimulate critical thinking and teamwork — as the students apply new knowledge in a problem-solving context. The Step initiative gives teachers new project-based teaching strategies aimed at preparing students for entry-level jobs in the STEM disciplines, which are becoming more and more sophisticated.

The program, known as the Step initiative, is a three-year professional development program for teachers in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester county school districts. The focus is on growing the number of teacher-leaders who have:

-Created sustainable partnerships with STEM-related businesses
-Implemented innovative STEM teaching strategies
-Developed methods for engaging nontraditional students in STEM
-Developed leadership skills to facilitate systemic change in strategies for teaching STEM

“Over time, thousands of students will be impacted by the new teaching strategies and business partnerships that their teachers establish,” according to Allen Wutzdorff, executive director The Education Foundation. “We appreciate Boeing for recognizing that teachers are the cornerstone of a good education and they need to be familiar with the requirements of the business world as they prepare their students for the 21st-century workforce.”

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