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Woodstock School District 200 receives $40K in grants for STEM education

John Konstantaras - For Shaw Media
Toy cars are used for a graphing project during a mentoring session for the "Stem is Fair Game" Science Fair at the Crystal Lake Library on Saturday, December 3, 2016 in Crystal Lake.
John Konstantaras - For Shaw Media Toy cars are used for a graphing project during a mentoring session for the "Stem is Fair Game" Science Fair at the Crystal Lake Library on Saturday, December 3, 2016 in Crystal Lake.

WOODSTOCK – Woodstock School District 200 will be able to offer more science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum and teacher training in the next three years with funding from Project Lead The Way grants.

Astellas USA Foundation’s Rural Spark Project, a pilot program aimed at enhancing STEM education in rural areas, will fund the grants. The nonprofit Project Lead The Way is partnering with Astellas.

District 200 was eligible for the grant because it is expanding its Project Lead The Way curriculum.

Woodstock High School and Woodstock North High School each will receive $20,000 over three years to go toward program fees, classroom equipment and supplies and professional development.

“This funding brought something new,” said George Oslovich, District 200 assistant superintendent for middle and high school education. “We do have money in the budget for professional development, but this particular grant allowed us to shift dollars to other areas.”

The school district implemented a new computer science course this year and spent funding to send a high school teacher from each school to a weeklong training during the summer, Oslovich said.

Funding runs through the 2019-20 school year, and the district expects to add more courses and train additional teachers, he said.

Project Lead The Way President and CEO Vince Bertram said the grant aims to ensure all students get opportunities to learn STEM subjects.

“Project Lead The Way is proud to partner with Astellas USA Foundation to ensure that students and teachers in Illinois rural communities have the same access to high-quality STEM education as their urban and suburban peers,” Bertram said. “All students, regardless of race, gender, geography and socioeconomic status, need a strong foundation in science and technology. With Astellas USA Foundation’s support, we will help ensure that all students have the in-demand knowledge and skills they need to thrive in our rapidly evolving world.”

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