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Grant to expand science education

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McKenna Branch, 10, left, pours salt into a container and Mycah Deloatch, 11, pours vinegar into a container to clean a penny for a science fair project Tuesday at Martin Millennium Academy in Tarboro.

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

TARBORO — Martin Millennium Academy has been awarded a $135,402 grant to expand the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics beyond the normal classroom day.

The school applied for and won the three-year grant from the Student Science Enrichment Program funded by Burroughs Wellcome Fund. The grant was open to nonprofit organizations in North Carolina that can offer hands-on STEM experiences to students. As a requirement of the grant, funded STEM activities must take place at times other than the normal school day such as after school, on weekends or during holiday periods.

“The teachers at Martin Millennium Academy have a plethora of things they plan to do with this grant,” said Dr. Valerie Bridges, superintendent of Edgecombe County Public Schools. “It will be exciting to see what they accomplish.”

According to the grant application, Martin Millennium Academy plans to develop a “Future Scientists Academy” to “excite and teach scholars about STEM-related careers, especially since the population we serve is inequitably underrepresented in STEM fields.”

Amy Rae Foss, former instructional coach and a teacher at Martin Millennium Academy, wrote the grant application and will serve as the program director for the grant. In the application for the grant, Foss wrote: “Our scholars often do not have access or opportunities to engage with STEM in the same ways or to the same extent of scholars in other parts of the state. However, the recent flood has reiterated to our community the importance of STEM education and how science can change peoples lives.”

Foss told the Telegram that the school plans to set up summer STEM camps over the next three summers to offer STEM education opportunities. The camps will first be offered to middle school students and should be expanded to elementary students at a later time. Foss is also planning some Saturday learning opportunities that will connect with other aspects of STEM learning at school.

“We hope to be able to show our scholars that there are STEM jobs out there for them,” Foss said. “This grant will allow us to connect them with hands-on opportunities and give them exposure to how science, technology, engineering and math are used all around us.”

Cherelle Sanders, a middle school science teacher at Martin Millennium Academy, said she is really excited about the grant.

“I think this is going to be an amazing opportunity for our scholars to become immersed in science and math education in addition to the global education they receive here,” Sanders said.

For more information about plans for the grant, go to https://exchange.ncstemcenter.org/opportunity/mma-future-scientists-academy

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