STEM grant

Lincoln County High School’s 2013-14 robotic team was the last local group that received a seed grant for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through the Science and Technology Education and TRAINing (STEDTRAIN) Committee. Applications for the 2019-20 school year are available now. Details can be viewed at http://stedtrain.org/rfp.

The Science and Technology Education and TRAINing (STEDTRAIN) Committee has announced the continuation of its Seed Grant Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Program for K-12 schools in Jackson, Madison, Marshall, Morgan, and Limestone Counties in Alabama and Lincoln County in Tennessee for the 2019-2020 school year.

Over the past 30 years, STEDTRAIN has awarded 571 STEM Seed Grants totaling more than $579,000 that many benefactors have donated. Historically, STEDTRAIN Type I Standard Seed Grants ranged from $200 to $1,000 and were awarded for innovative, hands-on projects that will stimulated the student’s interest in scientific and technical subjects.

According to Ron Hackett, the STEDTRAIN records and website administrator, there have been no proposals submitted by teachers in Fayetteville and Lincoln County in the past five years. “You can’t be awarded a grant if you don’t submit a proposal,” said Hackett. “As a Lincoln County resident, I’d like to see our teachers getting their fair share of that grant money.”

For the 2019-2020 school year, the STEDTRAIN Program includes the three-year old more challenging class of grants that may qualify for awards of $1,500 to $2,500, Type II Enhanced Seed Grant. The program also retains the original range of $200 to $1,000. A teacher may apply for one or two, but only one of the two classes of grants will be awarded to a successful applicant.

In the event you decide to submit both a Type I and a Type II Grant Proposals, then only one of the two proposals can be funded, and the committee’s decision on which to award will be final. Under no circumstance will a grant value exceeding $2,500 be awarded. There are no $3,500 grants. The proposal instructions spell out how to apply for both the original grant amounts and the new grant amount, and include what additional requirements must be met to qualify for the $2,500 grant. Any teacher in public or state-approved school individual or groups within area counties may apply for a Seed Grant.

STEDTRAIN seeks Seed Grant applications that propose innovative projects that “seed” an enthusiasm in students for STEM education in the several contexts, to include Bloom’s taxonomy, enhancing technology awareness and interest, and workforce careers. The projects must involve hands-on activities by the students, and can be either in-class or extracurricular.

“Think of the excitement when students learn something they had not expected, to include new and innovative ways of learning, new concepts, technologies and applications, and the challenges of working together to expand and apply their STEM experiences in new and exciting ways,” said Hackett.

“One of the most important elements of a successful proposal is solid program plan that lays out the learning goals and objectives to be accomplished, to include how any new technology or tools will used to those ends, and how those learning objectives are evaluated,” he noted. “We will not fund proposals that simply seek to obtain hardware or technology without a good program-project plan for using that hardware or technology. We evaluate and score the program-project, not the need. Please read and follow the guidelines posted on our website for other restrictions.”

Teachers must submit proposals for Seed Grants through the STEDTRAIN website. The deadline for submission is 11:59:59 p.m. (midnight), April 1, 2019. The school principal must approve the Seed Grant proposal by midnight, April 3, 2019. Late submissions and approvals will not be accepted. Seed Grant awards will be announced on or about Aug. 5. Please check the website for other important dates and information about submitting a proposal.

“We respectfully and earnestly request that you announce this opportunity to everyone and encourage teachers, students, and parents to prepare proposals jointly for an award of a grant,” Hackett said. “We look forward to numerous innovative responses to this request for proposals, and we thank you for your attention, cooperation, and commitment to supporting the engineers and scientists of tomorrow.”

For more information and to submit a proposal, please visit the website at http://stedtrain.org/rfp.

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