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ORAU awards $20,000 in education grants

More than 25 teachers from Anderson County schools received new teaching materials and supplies at ORAU’s Education Grants program on Sept. 10, walking away with a total of $20,000 in grant funds.

Now in the program’s 18th year, ORAU has awarded more than half a million dollars to Clinton City, Oak Ridge, and Anderson County Schools in its mission to enrich science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs.

In addition to computer software, robotics kits, and Chromebooks, teachers also requested plant labs, Geiger counters, and air-powered rockets in this year’s grant applications. With new tech and classroom supplies, teachers will have the tools to meet evolving state-wide curriculum standards, and to better engage their students in STEM subjects, according to a press release.

“ORAU is fortunate to be able to provide Anderson County educators with the needed resources to enhance students’ educations and STEM learning experience,” said ORAU President and Chief Executive Officer Andy Page. “We appreciate these educators’ dedication to student success and advancement.”

The two largest grants were given to Briceville Elementary School and Clinton Elementary School this year.

The first grant, to teacher Janis Bishop of Briceville Elementary School, was for $3,900 to purchase a projector and eight Chromebooks to go in the school’s new STEM Lab, which houses robotics kits and 3D printers for students. The equipment in this lab will expand students’ STEM understanding beyond the standard STEM curriculum taught in the classroom.

The second largest grant went to Tracy Burton from Clinton Elementary. She received more than $2,700 in 3Doodler learning packs and Ozobot Evo Classroom Kits. Students from kindergarten to sixth grade will be able to learn the fundamentals of coding, robotics, engineering, design, circuits, and more STEM concepts in the school’s new Makerspace/STEM Lab.

“I think it’s amazing that ORAU understands the value of beginning at the bottom and helping some of our rural students achieve,” said Bishop, who applies for education grants each year. “The resources we receive from these grants are necessary to help our children stay competitive at higher grader levels.”

Winners from the Education Grants program are chosen from competitive proposals submitted annually by individual teachers in Anderson County.

For more information about this and other ORAU-supported programs in education, visit http://www.orau.org/about-orau/community-involvement.aspx.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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