Alexandria City Public Schools Awarded Prestigious Grant for STEM Education and Student Civic Engagement

Alexandria City Public Schools has received a grant of almost $330,000 to help teachers bring real-world, hands-on science and technology learning into their classrooms.

Through the grant, students in grades six and seven will use STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) concepts to explore local environmental issues such as the health of local streams, which feed into the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and impact the plants, animals and people these waterways support; or the impact of light pollution in urban environments on plants and animals. The grant, obtained in partnership with Earth Force, was awarded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Students will explore topics by collecting data and conducting research to learn about the issues that are impacting their community. They will engage with city officials, government workers, nature center and wastewater treatment facility staff, environmental non-profits and local business and industry to learn more about local issues and then select one to address — and develop critical communication skills in the process. Based on their findings, they’ll design and implement projects that reflect environmental issues they care about and they’ll apply what they learn to real-world situations.

“This grant opens up a world of opportunities to expand the teaching and learning into the community and inspire civic responsibility. It enables our teachers and students to work in and with the community to address critical issues that impact our environment. The STEM skills our students will learn in middle school are skills they’ll need in their higher education or the workplace. And for those who are interested in pursuing careers in STEM, it provides a solid foundation for and bridge to the STEM Academy at T.C. Williams High School,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.