High School District 214 has received a $15,000 grant from the Motorola Solutions Foundation to expand its science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) outreach to local middle school students.
The grant will go toward an after-school outreach program at Buffalo Grove High School called Next Generation Engineers that targets girls and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields.
The funding also helps District 214 continue to build a pipeline of students who choose STEM pathways as their career focus. Students in the program will receive a hands-on approach to learning that aligns with the District 214 curriculum.
"This grant will allow us to expose incoming Buffalo Grove students to the courses and labs that will be available to them once they enter high school,” said Jeff Bott, division head of career and technical education at Buffalo Grove High School. "The earlier we are able to expose students to new technology and industry standard software, the more we can prepare them for their post-secondary plans and their futures."
Students at Thomas, Cooper and London middle schools, as well as those at St. James and St. Mary schools, are eligible to enroll in the program at Buffalo Grove. The after-school program will begin next spring and will be held once a week.
Since 2008, Wheeling High School has hosted Next Generation Engineers, a middle school STEM curriculum that challenges and inspires students through rigorous, relevant learning experiences that include activity, project and problem-based learning.
Eighty-five percent of middle school students who have participated in the program at Wheeling have chosen a STEM career pathway in high school. Additionally, students in the program have higher GPAs in high school than those who did not participate.
The grant was given through the “Innovation Generation Grant” program from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, the charitable arm of Motorola Solutions, Inc. Overall, the foundation's innovation grant program impacts 900,000 students and teachers.
“The Motorola Solutions Foundation created the Innovation Generation Grant program eight years ago to support educational experiences that spark students to turn their dreams into the innovations that will shape our society’s future,” said Matt Blakely, director of the Motorola Solutions Foundation. “Organizations like High School District 214 are teaching tomorrow’s leaders that careers in engineering and technology are not only fun, but also within their reach.”