Avonworth Receives Two Grants from PDE

The Avonworth School District has been awarded two grants in January of 2020.  The District received a $25,000 Teacher in the Workplace grant and also a $35,000 PAsmart Targeted grant. Both grants aim to assist schools with preparing students for the 21st Century economy they will enter once leaving high school.  

The purpose of the Teacher in the Workplace grant is to connect teachers and businesses to help teachers learn directly from businesses about the skills and knowledge students need to be successful in today’s workplace.  Avonworth School District will be sending ten educators into the workforce this summer to gain this experience.  These teachers will bring what they learn back into the classroom and into their curriculum to better prepare Avonworth students for the paths they choose once completing high school.  Additionally, through their workforce experience, teachers will be exposed to a variety of careers and bring this information back to the District to share with students as well.  

“I am very pleased that we have been able to secure these two grants.  The professional learning and resources that will be provided through the Teacher in the Workplace and PAsmart grants will be a great benefit to our students.  These grant programs will enable our teachers to provide our students with the essential professional skills, while also equipping them with state of the art STEM expertise,” noted Avonworth Superintendent, Dr. Thomas Ralston.

The PAsmart Targeted grant represents one component of the governor’s innovative PAsmart initiative., which will provide $20 million to bring high-quality computer science and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education in elementary, middle, and high schools, and professional development for teachers.

“PAsmart is strategically investing in science and technology education so students develop the skills they need for high-demand jobs,” said Governor Wolf. “To be successful, we must also invest in our educators by providing them the training to teach these critical subjects.

“Through PAsmart, we are developing the most prepared and talented workforce in the country, which will help students excel, grow the middle class, and strengthen the economy for everyone,” he said.

Over the next 10 years, 71 percent of new jobs in Pennsylvania will require employees to use computers and new technologies.

“Job growth in the STEM and computer science field is driving the Pennsylvania and national economies, and Governor Wolf recognizes that expanding access to these programs is absolutely critical to preparing students for an ever-changing workforce,” said Secretary Rivera. “PAsmart grants help train educators so they are providing high-quality STEM and computer science instruction and experiences in their classrooms to students of all ages, including those who have been historically underserved and underrepresented in these opportunities and fields.”

Each Targeted grant recipient will receive $35,000. The grants help schools introduce and expand computer science programming and to provide educators from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 with training to teach CS. The 163 new Targeted grant awardees have prioritized expanding access to computer science for underrepresented students, such as students of color, girls, low-income students and students in rural communities.

The Avonworth School District is committed to providing opportunities for all students to explore the vast field of computer science, as well as to engage in advanced learning experiences in computer science should a student develop an interest in possibly pursuing this field for career or additional learning in college.  With the funds provided by the PAsmart grant, Avonworth will create clubs focused on computer science at the elementary and high school levels, expand learning opportunities within our curriculum, and provide teachers with training.  

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