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$25,000 Awarded to the District for STEM Professional Development from Duke Energy

posted Jun 8, 2016, 12:01 PM by Deb WICKLIFFE   [ updated Jun 8, 2016, 12:03 PM ]
The School District of Oconee County has received a $25,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation that will enable SDOC to provide intense STEM professional development to a basic cohort of teachers and administrators, who will then spread expertise across the district. This grant will allow us to offer STEM professional development to teachers and other district leaders, which will ensure that the district is providing quality STEM instruction to all SDOC students,” said Jodie Shirley, STEM coordinator for SDOC.

The grant will enable the district to offer two levels of STEM training. Throughout the 2016-17 school year, STEM Leader Training will be provided by Discovery Education to 28 teachers from the West-Oak cluster; seven from each elementary school and seven from the middle school. This training will provide intensive instruction on STEM education, including implementation and evaluation. STEM teachers from other attendance areas will be included if room is available.

A STEM Administrator Academy will also be funded by the grant. This academy will include 60 participants from all attendance areas in SDOC and will include administrators, literacy coaches, math coaches, other STEM teachers, and media specialists. Participants will receive assistance in creating a STEM vision as well as in creating action plans for their schools.

“The School District of Oconee County is dedicated to becoming a state, national, & global leader in preparing students for college & career success in a global society. We are grateful to Duke Energy for their contribution and support of our vision. These are difficult budget times and we are extremely thankful the Duke Energy Foundation selected the School District of Oconee County to receive this grant,” said Dr. Michael Thorsland, district superintendent.

STEM is an acronym that represents the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. From 2010 to 2014, every engineering-based occupation has added jobs, the most coming among mechanical engineers. As a whole, engineering jobs have grown 7%. (Forbes, September, 2014). STEM-based occupations are not only adding jobs, they are adding lucrative jobs that pay an average of $40 per hour in median wages.

The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to address the needs vital to the health of its communities. Annually, the foundation funds more than $25 million in charitable grants, with a focus on education, environment, economic and workforce development, and community impact.

Pictured above:  Jodie Shirley, SDOC STEM Coordinator, Dr. Michael Thorsland, SDOC Superintendent, and Emily DeRoberts, Duke Energy Community Relations Team