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Edgecombe schools receive STEM funds

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Friday, August 16, 2019

Thanks to the help of local farmers and the sponsorship of the Bayer Fund, Edgecombe County Public Schools has just been awarded a $25,000 grant to help enhance its science, technology, engineering and math curriculum.

The grant, which was awarded through the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, will be used to introduce sixth-grade students in the school district to STEM concepts and careers to prepare the next generation of leaders in STEM, according to a press release from the America’s Farmers Grow Communities Program.

“The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Grant will help Edgecombe County Public Schools support our dedication to the students of Edgecombe County to provide innovative ideas for improving their educational experiences. The funds will be used to expand our current STEM program from elementary schools to middle schools,” Abbey Futrell, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for Edgecombe County Public Schools, said in a written interview.

In early 2019, America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Bayer Fund, has worked with local farmers to nominate rural schools and awarded more than $2.3 million in grants to enhance their STEM programs.

To qualify for a Grow Rural Education grant, schools and school districts must be nominated by area farmers to compete for a merit-based grant of either $10,000 or $25,000. Nominated school districts then submit a grant application describing their STEM-focused project.

The Grow Rural Education’s Farmer Advisory Council, which consists of about 30 farm leaders from across the country, reviewed the finalist applications and selected the winning school districts, including Edgecombe County Public Schools, the press release said.

“As applicants must be nominated by a local farmer in order to qualify for the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Grant, we would like to thank the Rev. Joyner from Conetoe Family Life Center for partnering with us in this endeavor,” Futrell said.

Because area farmers answered the call, Grow Rural Education has awarded Edgecombe County Public Schools $25,000 of those grant funds this year, the release said.

“America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education is a unique program because farmers play an important role throughout the process, from nominating schools to selecting the grant winners,” Al Mitchell, president of the Bayer Fund, said in the release. “With the incredible support of local farmers, countless grant-winning schools have shared with us how Grow Rural Education funds have made their STEM programs more engaging and, in several instances, positively impacted test scores.”

Since the Grow Rural Education program began in 2011, it has awarded more than $18 million to more than 1,000 schools in rural communities across the United States. To learn more about the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program, visit AmericasFarmers.com.

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