STEM Coordinator Stacy Walker, left, and several of the Rock Port Elementary staff went to a training class for the new STEM curriculum. Also pictured is Ashley Kern, right, Cameron Intermediate.

Rock Port Elementary was recently chosen as one of the several recipients of a Monsanto grant. Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, helps farmers positively impact their communities by supporting local school districts. The program gives farmers the opportunity to nominate a rural public school district in their community to compete for merit-based grants of either $10,000 or $25,000 to enhance math and/or science education. Since 2011, over $7 million has been awarded to school districts across 40 states through this program.
Nominated by Brandon Oswald, Rock Port Elementary will use this grant to help bring the program Project Lead The Way (PLTW) to the Rock Port R-II School District. Project Lead The Way is a nonprofit organization that provides transformative learning experiences for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. Through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, students learn problem-solving strategies, critical and creative thinking, and how to communicate and collaborate.
The funds will primarily be used to provide STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education training to the teachers at Rock Port Elementary. Along with the training for six elementary teachers, 24 PLTW modules will be purchased for kindergarten through grade five that will contain the supplies and materials for teaching the STEM education curriculum to the 148 students in that grade range.
Former elementary principal Jamie Evans, who dedicated her time to writing and perfecting the grant application, says she is very excited to see this program come to the school district. In the application, Mrs. Evans expressed the importance of STEM education, not only to students and teachers, but to the community as well. “Educators watch as graduates with college degrees are drawn into urban areas offering higher wages as our community employers face a growing demand for filling local jobs requiring STEM knowledge and skills.” One of the many goals of this project is to see students better develop their STEM skills and encourage them to bring those acquired skills back to the community.
Stacy Walker has completed lead teacher training and PLTW classroom training, and Marty Farley, Tabitha Waigand, Hope Vette, Jennifer Geib, and new principal Steve Waigand have completed PLTW classroom training to prepare for the 2016-2017 school year.