Grant allows district to expand STEM curriculum
Tea Area School District curriculum director Tonia Warzecha is excited to receive a grant for more than $90,000 to expand STEM curriculum in the district.
The South Dakota Department of Education awarded classroom innovation grants to 25 school districts Dec. 8. Tea Area was one of those districts. School districts can apply for up to $100,000 per district through a bill that was passed in the 2016 legislature.
Warzecha applied for the grant to expand Project Lead The Way (PLTW) in the district. Her grant proposal was fully funded at $92,546.
“Currently Project Lead The Way is only being implemented in the K-4 level. This grant allowed us to bring Project Lead The Way into middle school with computer science courses and to bring it into the high school with principles of biomedical science courses,” Warzecha said.
The school district began using Project Lead The Way curriculum in its kindergarten in the 2014-15 school year. Every year since then, they have expanded its implementation throughout grades kindergarten through fourth grade.
With the grant funding, they can rapidly expand implementation of Project Lead The Way STEM curriculum rather than doing it over a three to five year period.
“It’s going to help us address the growing need for STEM professionals in South Dakota and our nation. Tea Area has had a long-range plan for strengthening its CTE program and providing rigorous systemic progression of computer science curriculum,” she said.
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