To feed the world’s rapidly growing population and tackle many other global challenges, our country’s next generation of leaders will need to be highly-skilled in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). That’s why the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, has awarded the Knights Ferry Elementary School District with a $25,000 grant.
Knights Ferry School will utilize these funds to develop the Rural Robotics program. Educational robotics kits will be purchased for each classroom and a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) specialist will train teachers on using the robots to enhance problem solving and critical thinking. Students will receive two days of fun and engaging training in the use of robots as well, getting hands-on STEM skill practice.
In 2016, the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program is awarding $2.3 million to rural public school districts to benefit science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs.
Farmers from across the U.S. nominated and selected the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education grant recipients.
“We received the application and request to seek nominations from the Grow Rural Education program,” said Dr. Janet Skulina, Knights Ferry Superintendent-Principal. “I talked up the grant with our parents and then found later that we were nominated. Brian Sundberg nominated us for sure. I do not know if other local farmers or Agri-business folks nominated the school.”
After the nomination, the district developed its submission to enhance its STEM education offering through the Rural Robotics, robots and STEM instruction in every class project. A group of science and math teachers reviewed each submission and selected Knights Ferry Elementary School District as a finalist.
Next, the Program’s Farmer Advisory Council, which is composed of approximately 30 farmer leaders from across the country with an interest in agriculture and education, selected Knights Ferry School for one of the Grow Rural Education Grants. Grant applications were judged based on the merit of the application, need and community support.
“Being able to bring high quality STEM opportunities to all our students,” the superintendent noted regarding what she is most excited about. “Maybe one of our students will think more seriously about engineering or the robotics field as a future career.”
The Knights Ferry Elementary School District plans to use the funds to develop a strong STEM component for students using robotics in each class. Each classroom will receive age appropriate robotics kits and each teacher will participate in training specific to using these robots to enhance STEM education.
“We are honored to be a recipient of this year’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Program grants. The children love working with the robots and with this grant we are able to bring robotics, programming, and STEM activities to all our students on a regular basis. It is gratifying for our small, rural school to be able to offer high level STEM instruction using robotics to children who may not otherwise have had that opportunity,” Skulina stated.
The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program began in 2011. Since 2011, more than $11 million has been awarded to over 700 rural school districts to enhance STEM education. For a complete list of winners and to learn more about the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program, visit www.GrowRuralEducation.com.
The America’s Farmers campaign highlights the importance of modern U.S. Agriculture through communications and community outreach programs that partner with farmers to impact rural America. To learn more, visit America’s Farmers at www.AmericasFarmers.com.
The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of Monsanto Company, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work. Visit the Monsanto Fund at www.monsantofund.org.