Boeing invests $750K in STEM education

Charleston Regional Business Journal
January 9, 2012

The Boeing Co. is supporting science, technology, engineering and math education research with a $750,000 challenge grant over a three-year period.

The S.C. Coalition for Mathematics and Science at Clemson University started a research and innovation program called, “Inquiring Minds: Reading to Learn and Innovate in Mathematics and Science.”

This program aims to identify reading, writing and communication strategies that make science and mathematics more accessible to middle school students. Boeing’s challenge grant will fund research at 10 middle school sites still to be determined. It will also engage communities in support of STEM education.

Tom Peters, the coalition’s executive director, said reading needs to be a focus, too, because the state assessment results show a strong correlation between students’ difficulties with reading informational texts and failure to meet standards in mathematics and science.

“Reading to learn is just as critical as learning to read, especially when it comes to STEM education,” Peters said. “We need to tap into the learning potential of all children.”

Walt Tobin, Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College president and a coalition advisory board member, said there are a significant number of students entering two-year colleges who require reading skills improvements.

“A study of disciplinary literacy will help identify ways to remediate faster and more effectively with students who struggle with the technical nature of the programs and courses offered at the two-year level,” Tobin said.

The coalition is looking for more partners to join or fund the challenge.

Inquiring Minds middle schools will be selected from applicants that meet specific criteria. S2TEM Centers SC, a statewide network of STEM education support specialists, will provide ongoing, on-site support to participating teachers.

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