The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced nearly $20 million in PAsmart Advancing Grants today.
The new funding will be used to expand access to computer science and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) in K-12 schools across the commonwealth. Each county will receive funding for at least three program grant awards. 75% of Pennsylvania counties will receive four program grants.
“Our historic investments in education throughout my administration are ensuring a better future for our children and a stronger Pennsylvania,” Governor Wolf said. “These PAsmart awards focused on STEM education are particularly valuable in putting commonwealth students on a path to the best jobs of the future.”
“PAsmart prepares students for the jobs of tomorrow, no matter where they live in the commonwealth or where they plan to live in the future,” said Acting Secretary of Education Eric Hagarty. “Equitable access to STEM and computer science programs gives students from all walks of life the skills they need to obtain meaningful, family-sustaining careers, and these grants will provide thousands more learners the opportunity to build on their skillset, grow, and achieve.”
According to a press release, highlights among the 42 awarded proposals include:
- “PA Aquaponics Collaborative Expansion” led by Intermediate Unit 1. This project enables the Southwest PA Aquaponics Collaborative, along with business, higher education, intermediate unit, and school district partners, to expand educational aquaponics programs into rural, western, and central PA. It aims to expand access to learning about food systems, farming, and sustainability through aquaponics to rural students across 20 counties.
- “Reimagining Access and Mathematical Pathways (RAMP) to STEM” led by Delaware County Intermediate Unit and the STEM Equity Alliance. RAMP to STEM will bring high-quality, culturally relevant math education to underserved students of color from four school districts via improved high school coursework and college dual enrollment courses that better prepare students for postsecondary options in STEM.
- “Public Library STEM Club Initiative” led by Franklin County Public Libraries and The Video Game Clubs of America. The Public Library STEM Club will engage 50 public libraries in seven counties to promote computer science, STEM, and social-emotional learning through gaming clubs for youth in grades 7-12.
- “GCSOM PAsmart STEM Medical Pathway Program” led by Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM). The PAsmart STEM Medical Pathway Program will provide healthcare training, certifications, and structured clinical exposure to 11th- and 12th-grade students in northeastern PA who are underrepresented in STEM, partnering with school districts, universities, county workforce development boards, and others.
- “Millersville University & National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT)-C4C PAsmart Grant Partnership Model” led by Millersville University. Focusing on trainings for school counselors, the partners aim to promote underrepresented students’, especially female students’, entry into STEM careers.
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