Polk County Schools receives $45,400 Facebook grant to boost STEM education

Polk County Schools has received a grant of more than $45,000 from Facebook to help boost STEM education in classrooms across the district.

PCS recently received a 2020 Facebook Forest City Data Center Community Action Grant. The grant program helps address needs in Rutherford, Cleveland, McDowell, Polk and Henderson counties by putting the power of technology to use for community benefit, connecting people online or off, and improving STEM education.

Polk County Schools plans to use its $45,400 grant to purchase hands-on STEM equipment and mobile units to engage students across subjects. The “STEM Carts” to be located at each school will consist of robots, circuits, building kits and coding materials. These carts will be shared by all grades at each elementary school and will be able to be integrated in grades K-8 across all subjects for unique and active lessons.

The grant will also fund numerous professional development opportunities for teachers to learn how to best utilize these tools. Professional development will allow teachers to network and explore innovative uses for these materials and ways to apply them into their classrooms. These instruments will be used for many years to come, reaching countless students of Polk County Schools.

“I am thrilled about the potential of these STEM units and the unique and engaging lessons they will allow teachers to incorporate into their classrooms,” said Polk County Schools’ Linley Foster. “Students will be able to map the Oregon Trail by coding Sphero robots, explore angles using the K’nex Simple Machines and create stories using the Ozobot robots.

“The opportunities to not only engage students in robotics and coding but also cross curricular, interactive lessons is exciting as well as crucial in preparing our students for their futures.”

Thirteen area nonprofits and schools received 2020 Community Action Grants. The award to Polk County Schools is the largest of the 2020 grants.

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