UNION — A grant received by the Union County School District will mean a boost in STEM curriculum for local middle school students.
District Instructional Coordinator Tabitha Talley spoke during Monday evening's meeting of the Union County Board of School Trustees. Talley announced that the Timken Foundation of Canton, Ohio issued a grant to the district in the amount of $46,500 to be used toward STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculum for district middle schools (Sims Middle School, Lockhart School, and Jonesville Elementary/Middle School).
Talley also announced that Joe Hines of Santuc Precision will donate $2,000 per year for three years.
Part of the funds will be used to purchase software to focus on STEM curriculum, and a group of trainers from the University of Texas will instruct teachers and administrators in regard to using the software.
Tally is instrumental in the annual STEM night held at Union County High School. The event brings together local industry with education to make the community aware of 21st century skills students need after high school.
"We are working to prepare our students for the future workforce where an increasing number of jobs at all levels require extensive knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics," Talley said during this year's STEM night. "There is often a stigma that comes with manufacturing jobs due to a concern for stability. These are not the same textile jobs of decades past. If you go into local industries like Timken, Gestamp, and BMW, you will be amazed at the amount of technological knowledge required in entry level positions."
Talley also mentioned at Monday's meeting that the funds for STEM curriculum will also create a new extracurricular activity among students in the district — Lego robotics. Talley explained that each school in the district will have a team of 20 to participate in Lego robotics activities, and the teams will compete against other teams throughout the state.
Also during Monday's meeting, District Coordinator of School Safety/Security Randy Crocker presented information regarding an assessment made about school safety and upcoming safety training for school employees.