October 11 – Archer Daniels Midland Company is helping to boost STEM education in Macon County by establishing the ADM Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) grant.
The NGS Standards are being fully implemented this year in Illinois schools. However, many Macon County teachers are finding that funding for special studies has been scarce. Macon County middle and high school teachers who have gone through an iBIO Institute session will now be eligible to apply for the NGSS grant. ADM Vice President of Process & Chemical Research Paul Bloom says the teachers were excited to bring what they learned to their students, but found it difficult to implement programs without funding.
“We’ve had great feedback from all the teachers who have gone through the iBIO program,” Bloom says. “After that, it was basically what do we do next to keep this going. That’s where this extra funding should help by giving teachers some extra resources.”
So far, about 66 teachers have taken advantage of the professional development course. ADM even paid for the substitute teachers so the teachers could attend the sessions. ADM is teaming up with the Education Coalition of Macon County to help get the word out that grants are available.
“Teachers get this great training often, but they don’t always get to see it all the way through,” EdCo Executive Director Dani Craft says. “The freedom that this [grant] offers to our local teachers, especially in a science classroom – the sky’s the limit for them. We can’t wait to see the impact on the students when their eyes light up at the different things they get to do in the classroom.”
Teachers can apply for up to $750 for purchase of school supplies to support NGSS lesson implementation. Supplies that may be purchased include: consumables, science lab kits, software programs, or science equipment. The money must be used for NGSS programs in the 2016/17 school year.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programming has become a big focus in recent years throughout the U.S. With the world needing to double food production in the next 40 years, Bloom says we need to invest in the next generation of scientists.
“We need to help the next generation of problem solvers hit the ground running,” he says. “NGSS is important because it takes it from a lecture-style of learning to a much more hands-on learning style. When you get to a real environment, you have to innovate and develop real solutions.”
If you know a teacher who qualifies for this grant, you should have them call the Education Coalition at (217) 429-3000.