Sen. Mike Cunningham makes a 2,000 grant presentation to Dr. Allen Moss of the Houston R-1 School District. From left: Former state treasurer Wendell Bailey; Houston Middle School principal Amber Stephens; Houston Elementary School principal Jody Jarrett; Houston curriculum director Audrey Kell; Cunningham, Moss; Project Lead the Way representative Andrea Holzwarth; and Missouri S&T representative David Hosick.

Houston Elementary School was recently the recipient of a $42,000 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) grant.

Missouri University of Science and Technology partnered with Houston Schools to increase the number of school districts utilizing Project Lead the Way (PLTW). The goal of PLTW is to help students understand that STEM education is relevant in their lives and see potential for future careers. The overarching goal of the effort is to increase the ability of the region to attract new jobs and new investment by improving the educational aptitude and achievement of students, and competitive position of the school district. The appropriation was provided in FY2017 to help school districts offset costs of these programs and to provide state match for potential federal grant money.

Sen. Mike Cunningham was instrumental in earmarking the funding source for the grant monies. The current money will be used for PLTW training of 13 staff members as well the purchase of materials and technology to implement the program. The pilot project will begin in January. Students in 11 classrooms — ranging from kindergarten through fifth grade — will receive instruction during their scheduled science curriculum. Middle school students will also be exposed to some STEM-type activities during a technology elective course.

PLTW will be increased to cover all elementary classrooms in August 2017 as well as expansion in the middle school.

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