A $103,000 Grable grant to fund science, technology learning in South Fayette

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South Fayette School District has been awarded two grants, totaling more than $118,000, for innovative student programs.

One grant will go toward a K-12 technology program and the other toward an elementary environmental science curriculum.

A grant of more than $103,000 from The Grable Foundation of Pittsburgh will support a K-12 program involving STEAM subjects--science, technology, engineering, art and math--that can be shared with other school districts, technology director Aileen Owens told the school board Tuesday night.

Superintendent Bille Rondinelli said the grant is one of the largest that Grable ever has awarded to a single school district.

The grant will help South Fayette complete its project to incorporate computational thinking concepts into the curriculum, with a goal of producing innovative opportunities for students at all grade levels, Ms. Owens said.

For example, the grant will fund creation of a 20-unit lesson on computer programming for eighth-graders, she said.

"A lot of times in the past, it's been hard for students to understand programming, or engineering and design, because it happens in high school," Ms. Owens said. "Whereas now, we're building these concepts at such an early age that it's very easy for them to grasp the next step, so we feel like they're going to learn in a more powerful way."

A $15,000 grant from The Sprout Fund of Pittsburgh will help establish an environmental science curriculum for grades K-4 that includes growing gardens.

Ms. Owens said the program, embedded in other subjects, will use digital media to reinforce learning.

Students will design and grow vegetable gardens in the newly built intermediate school, and they will share plants and homegrown food with low-income families and with the school cafeteria, Ms. Owens said.

The intermediate school on the Old Oakdale Road campus recently received its full occupancy permit, the superintendent said. A building dedication is scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 10.

The new school will accommodate about 677 pupils in grades 3 to 5. As a result, the elementary school population will decrease from 1,172 to 704, and middle school enrollment will drop from 803 to 596.

education - neigh_west - neigh_south

Andrea Iglar, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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