Weakley County Schools has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the TVA, in partnership with Bicentennial Volunteers Incorporated, for a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education project.
Weakley County Schools Communications Director Karen Campbell says the grant monies will be matched with funds from Weakley County Schools’ Career Technical Education budget to cover the $10,000 expenditure of providing mobile STEM labs for each of the county middle schools.
“Weakley County is committed to providing opportunities for all students to explore STEM. Currently, we have STEM clubs and opportunities in our elementary schools and technical/STEM pathways for our high schoolers. However, we have a gap in middle school that we want to fill with this program,” said Lindsey Parham, director of CTE. “This project will expose our middle school students to emerging opportunities for high-skill, high-wage, in-demand careers.”
The mobile labs will be comprised of four sections: science (building manipulatives and robotics), technology (sensors, cables, batteries, motors), engineering (building manipulatives), and math (K’NEX building parts). Each section will include lab activities and guidance for teachers on how to best incorporate the activities in standards-based instruction.
The grant award is a part of $600,000 in competitive STEM grants awarded to 142 schools across TVA’s service territory. 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.
“This is the second year we offered this program to the entire Valley and we saw a major increase in grant applications this year,” said Community Engagement Senior Program Manager Rachel Crickmar. “There is a demand in the Valley for workforce development through STEM education and I am proud of the way TVA and our retirees are responding to that demand by supporting teachers in the classroom.”
(photo: T.J. Thompson, TVA Governmental Relations Specialist; Shelly Bowers with the Weakley County Municipal Electric System; and Shana Woods, TVA Customer Delivery Program Manager, presented a $5,000 check to Weakley County Schools Assistant Director Jeff Kelley and CTE Director Lindsey Parham to help with the purchase of new STEM resources.)