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Grant to bolster STEM courses in LP schools

January 24, 2019

La PORTE — La Porte Community Schools plan to implement more STEM courses at all levels by implementing Project Lead the Way grants.

With STEM occupations growing at almost twice the speed as other jobs, there is a real need for students to take an interest, and develop these skills before entering the work force.

Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education, Jane Larson expressed excitement about the launch.

“We look forward to the next school year when STEM ideas will be expanded in the district, K-12, through the Project Lead the Way curriculum,” Larson said.

Project Lead the Way has awarded La Porte schools necessary funding to introduce or expand their programs. La Porte High School has received $8,000 in grant funding to put into place a Cybersecurity course of the Computer Science pathway. The grant will carry over for two years.

“The Indiana Department of Education is working hard to implement more computer science in all Indiana classrooms. We plan to use the grant to cover expenses for the Project Lead the Way participation fee, staff training and course supplies,” said Larson.

La Porte High School launched its Biomedical Science Program with Project Lead the Way’s introductory course, Principles of Biomedical Science, during the current school year.

Since then, the Indiana Department of Education has granted the school an additional $10,000 which will go to implementing the next course in the Biomedical Science pathway. The school hopes to continue expanding the Biomedical program with Project Lead the Way with courses covering Human Body Systems, Medical Interventions and Biomedical Innovation.

LPCSC received two other Project Lead the Way grants for STEM courses at La Porte Middle School and Kesling Intermediate School. Both grants award $3,150 to the expansion of the current Project Lead the Way Gateway programming the school offers its students. This funding is expected to allow for additional Project Lead the Way courses to be put in place for fifth through eighth grade students.

La Porte Elementary schools will have STEM programs implemented in the 2019-20 school year for Kindergarten through fourth grade. The schools received two different grants worth $2,500 each.

The elementary level courses will take place in a computer lab and teach students computer science, engineering and science basics. The program will be treated similarly to art, music and physical education classes, where it will occupy a 50-minute time slot once a week.

“Four teachers will be trained in Project Lead the Way Launch and present the lessons to students,” Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education Steven Manering explained said. “Each teacher will be assigned to two elementary buildings.”

“Larson and Manering were instrumental in writing up the grants, as well as organizing it so that the different schools could be awarded money,” added Mark Francesconi, superintendent of La Porte Community Schools.

LPCSC hopes to keep expanding its Project Lead the Way participation and implementing more projects as grant opportunities arise.

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