Over $150K in grants going to Florence District 1 schools

Over $150K in grants going to Florence District 1 schools
Carver Elementary kindergarten students learning inside the current S.T.E.M. lab. (Source: Audrey Biesk)
Carver Elementary kindergarten students learning inside the current S.T.E.M. lab. (Source: Audrey Biesk)

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – Students and teachers can expect to see some changing in the upcoming 2017-2018 school year after Florence School District One (FSD1) was awarded grants totaling $150,015.78 from the School Foundation.

Carver Elementary was awarded $73,370.20 for their grant "Engineering a Smart Start" S.T.E. M. lab designed for science, technology, engineering, and math and empower students to build 21st-century skills.

Briggs, Carver, Timrod, Delmae, Moore, Sneed, Southside and Wilson schools were awarded $50,250.00 for their "E-ssential e-Books" grant, which gives better access to digital non-fiction e-Books.

McLaurin Elementary was awarded $21,073.82 for their "Field Trips Without Wheels" grant, which will give students a virtual field trip experience.

Savannah Grove Elementary was awarded $3,631.59 for their grant "Gators Grasping Literacy Through Google", which utilizes Chromebooks.

The School Foundation distributes grant dollars every Spring. Executive director Debbie Hyler said more than $1.3 million have been given out to Florence School District One Schools over the past 13 years.

She explained the help from community businesses and donors help make it possible.

"This year we received 12 applications totaling over $425,000 and we were able to fund four major grants," said Hyler. "So this year we were able to give out a little over $150,000."

According to Hyler, the E-ssential e-Books grant was a collaboration written by eight different schools and their media specialists throughout Florence One Schools and the most interested grant application she had received.

"Students can download the app on their own personal devices. It might be their Chromebook issued by the school, their iPad, an iPhone, any of those devices they can have the app on there," Hyler said.

Carver Elementary is one of five schools in Florence School District One to receive the advanced S.T.E.M. accreditation and every single student in kindergarten through fourth grade inside Carver Elementary will have access to the new "Smart Start" S.T.E.M. lab.

It will be the first school in South Carolina to have a S.T.E.M lab of this kind.

Carver currently has one S.T.E.M. lab that will have a bio medical focus next year, and the new lab will have an engineering focus. The computer lab will have a coding focus.

The principal of Carver Elementary, Chris Rogers, said people will see 21st-century learning happening.

Students will have access to technology, iPads, computers, a robotics curriculum and creative tools.

"They will have information they are trying to create and build something and you will see them work with different LEGOS or connects kits to actually build and construct those items they just learned about," explained Rogers.

School officials toured schools around Denver to look at examples of smart S.T.E.M. labs that have already been in place for the past decade.

"Yes, I want it at Carver, but I want to see it go to the next level to in our secondary schools, in our middle and our high schools," Rogers said. "Because I want kids to leave Carver and continue that learning and continue that instruction."

Rogers said this is about setting kids up right now for the future, so that they are able to pursue careers in S.T.E.M. related industries.

"An average salary in a S.T.E.M career is around $98,000 a year and in a non-S.T.E.M related it's around $40,000 to $43,000 a year," stated Rogers.

Construction for the new "Smart Start S.T.E.M. lab will start this summer and be ready for Carver Elementary students in the Fall.

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