Students at Paxton School will benefit from a statewide investment by AT&T this year, one that seeks to increase understanding of how classroom curriculum translates into STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers.
To provide a critical link from classroom to careers, AT&T is once again partnering with the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF) to provide experiential learning opportunities for students in school districts across Florida. Real-world application of STEM education concepts, problem-solving and critical thinking skills will all be key elements of the 47 separate projects to be organized and funded through CFEF member local education foundations, including the Walton Education Foundation in Walton County, Florida.
Sheryl Evans, teacher at Paxton School, was awarded $2,000 for her grant titled “Paxton STEM Club LEGO Challenge.” Beginning in January 2018, 75 students in 4th grade, elementary and middle school STEM clubs will receive LEGO challenge kits that are STEM instructed from the LEGO company. The kits will guide students through the engineering, research and presentation process. Students will create a LEGO design which will include moving components and allow students to learn computer coding through programming pieces in their LEGO design. The teams will present their final projects at two LEGO competitions in March and May and present their projects to the community on April 26, 2018.
Evans states, “STEM activities are almost non-existent in our small rural school. These students need and deserve the opportunity to realize their potential, and to learn that there are many more amazing opportunities in their future. These students are worthy of the chance to learn how to be innovative and then apply those ideas in concrete ways through collaboration with their peers and the tangible items they need to be successful. Through this activity, students will be provided an opportunity that will increase awareness of STEM and likely generage interest in STEM programs. Their entire future just might be contingent on activities such as these.”
“The Walton Education Foundation is honored to facilitate opportunities like this one by bringing businesses and the community together to support education in Walton County,” said MH Carr, Walton Education Foundation Executive Director. “Our goal is that every student in Walton County will be inspired, equipped and empowered to meet their full potential in life. This grant helps do exactly that.”
“We know that industries engaged in STEM disciplines will create a majority of high-value, high-wage jobs and within ten years, almost nine out of ten new jobs will require education beyond a high school degree,” said Joe York, AT&T Florida President. “We are pleased to make this contribution because Florida’s K-12 education foundations are well positioned to be the link between schools and local businesses for students, enabling them to build connections with potential employers in their communities, get a sense of what careers they offer and the skill sets they require.”
Another CFEF contributor has followed AT&T’s lead to provide a similar STEM program with local impact throughout Florida. The Motorola Solutions Foundation is funding nine larger-scale projects through a competitive grant process.
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About Philanthropy at AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its philanthropic initiatives, AT&T has a long history of supporting projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; and address community needs. In 2010, more than $148.2 million was contributed through corporate-, employee- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs.
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About the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF):
The CFEF is the membership organization for Florida’s school district-wide local education foundations. Established in 1987, the CFEF seeks to advance student achievement in Florida by increasing private sector investment and involvement in public education. The CFEF now has 64 member foundations with 1,100 business and community leaders serving as volunteer board members. Collectively, they raise more than $63 million annually to support students, teachers and schools through a variety of programs. The CFEF has provided more than $44 million to local education foundations since 2001 through various private- and public-sector partnerships, including the State of Florida School District Education Foundation Matching Grant Program.