Bald Knob schools receive education grant

Published September 17, 2015 at 12:00 a.m.
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Gerald Reeves, local Monsanto representative, presented faculty and students of Bald Knob School District with a $10,000 grant Aug. 31. The grant was sponsored by the Monsanto fund through the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program and will help the school to purchase the Engineering in Elementary curriculum. First row, from left, are Landon Monday, fifth grade, Addalie Haynes, fourth grade, Aaron King, fifth grade, Addington Strickland, fourth grade, Hailey Sterling, fifth grade, Hannah Sterling, fifth grade; and second row, Davissa Brimer, fourth-grade teacher, Pam Carpenter, fifth-grade teacher, Gerald Reeves, Monsanto representative, Kari Smith, fourth-grade teacher.

BALD KNOB — STEM — or science, technology, engineering and mathematics — education is becoming a bigger part of school districts across the country, and the Bald Knob School District recently received a $10,000 grant that will enable teachers to deliver hands-on engineering education to elementary students.

The grant came from America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, and will be used to purchase the Engineering is Elementary curriculum.

The Engineering is Elementary curriculum was developed by the Museum of Science, Boston, with the goal of supporting “educators and children with curricula and professional development that develop engineering literacy,” according to the program’s website. The program uses hands-on storybook lessons to help students solve real-life problems using math, science and engineering.

“Children are inherent builders, which makes implementing engineering in elementary school a logical choice,” Melissa Gipson, director of curriculum at Bald Knob, said in a press release. “The students will be able to apply math and science concepts to real-world

problems as they construct solutions.”

The school district will also receive an educational starter kit from Monsanto Company to start a pollinator garden, which will give students first-hand knowledge of the critical role habitat plays in providing bees and butterflies with food, shelter and places to lay eggs.

America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education has awarded more than $9 million since 2011 to support rural school districts. Through this program, farmers nominated public school districts to compete for math and science grants of $10,000 or $25,000. The schools are then responsible for writing grant applications, and those applications are reviewed by a panel of teachers and then winners are chosen.

Farmers submitted their nominations between Jan. 1 and April 1 of this year, and the grant applications were due April 15. School districts were notified about funding decisions during the summer. In July, they found out if they were finalists, and winners were notified in August.

Also in the Three Rivers Edition coverage area, the Batesville School District was awarded $25,000 from the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program. The money will be used for the district’s proposed project “Soil-Less Gardening: The Wave of the Future.”

For more information on America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, visit www.GrowRuralEducation.com. A sister program, America’s Farmers Grow Communities, is currently enrolling farmers for 2016. The program offers farmers the chance to win a $2,500 donation to direct toward their favorite community nonprofit organization, to help feed the hungry, purchase lifesaving EMS equipment, support ag youth, buy classroom resources and more. To sign up, visit www.GrowCommunities.com before Nov. 30.

Staff writer Angela Spencer contributed to this story.

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