Reprinted from the Norris Bulletin (3/27/19): Seven Anderson County elementary and middle schools, and three Roane County Schools were among the first recipients of a new
competitive grant program sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Authority, in partnership with Bicentennial Volunteers Incorporated (a TVA retiree organization). Grants totaling more than $580,000 are being awarded to educators in public schools to develop STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education projects all across the Tennessee Valley.
Grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 were announced Tuesday to Andersonville, Fairview, Briceville and Grand Oaks Elementary. In addition, Norris Middle School, along with Jefferson and Robertsville Middle Schools, were among the 161 grantees.
The competitive 2018 Mini-Grant Program, operated in partnership with Battelle Education, opened on Dec. 7, 2018, and received more than 240 grant requests from schools across TVA’s seven-state service territory.
“When we kicked this grant program off, we weren’t sure what to expect,” said Community Relations Program Manager Rachel Crickmar. “Needless to say, it’s not just Tennessee Valley Authority that understands that excellence in education is the key to our future. We were surprised at how many grant applications we received, but it goes to show there is a demand in the Valley for workforce development through STEM education. I am proud that our retirees are partnering with us to respond to that demand.”
Norris Middle School was awarded $3,500, which will be used to purchase digital microscopes allowing each science teacher to incorporate the instruments into the school’s Earth and Human and Life Science units. The grant application submitted for the project states that “Students
Another project that received funding was a request by Fairview Elementary School for $2,500 that will be used to plant a pollinator garden with flowers that attract monarch butterflies and other pollinators that are in trouble. It is hoped that the class will help scientists by observing the monarchs and their yearly migration habits and by supplying them with a much-needed area to rest and feed during their yearly migration. Students will be responsible for the implementation of the garden and its upkeep as well as the data recording of the butterfly and other pollinators that would frequent our garden.
At Andersonville Elementary, the $1,000 grant will provide funding for an LCD projector for theirscience lab. This particular classroom services over 100 students daily. The projector would allow students to take virtual field trips including tours to the Smithsonian Institute, science and energy museums.
Briceville Elementary School and Grand Oaks Elementary each were awarded $5,000 grants. At
Briceville, the funds will provide students for robotics and a 3D printer to begin a STEM lab. Grand Oaks Elementary has indicated that its $5,000 will give students the opportunity to receive highly engaging introductory instruction in programming and coding through the use of Ozobots in their weekly technology class.
In making the announcement of the awards, Aimee Kennedy, senior vice-president for Education and Philanthropy at Battelle Education said “Every teacher needs something different to take learning in their classroom to the next level,” “Through the TVA’s generosity, educators all over the Tennessee Valley get to choose just what they need to expand STEM for their students.”
Across the valley, educators submitted projects large and small, to further their STEM education initiatives in the classroom.
“The projects were all across the STEM spectrum,” said Crickmar. “We had entries for things like safety goggles for science labs, but we also had projects like engineering and building solar powered drones. It was a great cross-section of projects, very representative of life in the Valley.”
The competitive grant program provided teachers an opportunity to apply for funding up to $5,000 and preference was given to grant applications that explored TVA’s primary areas of focus: environment, energy, economic and career development and community problem solving. Schools who receive grant funding must receive their power from a TVA distributor.
“The goal of the program was to help further STEM education across the valley,” said Crickmar. “We knew this program would be popular and competitive and now we’re are looking forward to seeing the impact these projects have.”
A full list of the grant recipients can be found at www.tvastem.com.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.