Four Aberdeen area schools will share a $1.2 million grant aimed at improving the STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – program and expanding opportunities for students.
Roye-Williams Elementary, Church Creek Elementary, Aberdeen Middle and Aberdeen High, benefactors of the Department of Defense Education Activity grant beginning with the 2014-15 school year, educate about 924 students whose parents are employed by Aberdeen Proving Ground. The grant, through The Eagles Soar Initiative will provide programs, including professional development for teachers; STEM after school and summer programs; new technology in Advanced Placement biology, chemistry and physics classrooms at Aberdeen High; and Aberdeen High students with opportunities to explore careers in strategic foreign languages.
"The Eagles Soar Initiative grant will provide a number of our schools with resources they would not have otherwise received this year," Harford schools Superintendent Barbara Canavan said. "The grant enables us to offer STEM-related instruction after school and during the summer that will afford our students additional opportunities to excel in STEM-related areas. Our teachers and instructional support staff will receive added professional development in science and technology this year. We are grateful for the support and funding that we have been afforded through this grant."
The STEM programs will be funded for three years, according to Jillian Lader, spokesperson for Harford County Public Schools. The after school programs are in the planning stages and will begin after winter break. The STEM summer program will be offered in the summer of 2015.
The strategic foreign language program in Arabic will be planned during the 2014-2015 and offered during the 2015-2016 school year, Lader said in an email. It is anticipated that students will participate in online Arabic learning through an after school club experience. Students will participate in field trips and meet with professionals in the field.
Also, Texas Instruments technology will be available in Aberdeen High's STEM classrooms.
"The grant will help Aberdeen High School tremendously. It will enable us to purchase additional resources and technology that will help to inspire students in STEM and World Language classrooms," Aberdeen High Principal Michael O'Brien said. "Additionally, it will help us provide more training for teachers to improve their capacity to use new technologies in our classrooms."
Roye-Williams Elementary Principal Rose Martino said her school feels very fortunate to be one of the recipients of the DoDEA Grant.
"As a result of the generous grant, our school will soon be wireless and we will also have a tablet cart that will put technology right in the hands of the students," Martino said.
The school has already begun providing professional development sessions for teachers in the area of technology and purchased a book connecting the Mathematical Practices and the Common Core State Standards for each teacher. The book's author will come to Roye-Williams Elementary to provide additional professional development in this area.
The school will also start an after school Lego Club and EiE Club (Engineering in Elementary).
"All these opportunities are just part of the initial phase of the DoDEA grant. We are very proud to be a DoDEA funded school and to have the opportunity for our students and teachers to benefit from the generosity of DoDEA," Martino said.
"The Department of Defense is committed to ensuring that all children of military families have access to quality educational opportunities," said Kathleen Facon, chief of the DoDEA's Educational Partnership Program. "DoDEA Educational Partnership grants have the power to transform learning experiences for military children and we are looking forward to working with the Harford County school district to leverage success and learn from their expertise."