Securing increased funding for math and science education can be challenging for many rural school districts. America's Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, helps school districts fund STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) projects that prepare students for an increasingly technology-driven workforce. Through the program, grants of $10,000 and $25,000 are awarded to rural public school districts across the U.S. to enhance math and science curriculum.
Since 2011, Grow Rural Education has partnered with farmers to award over $9 million to more than 650 school districts to enhance opportunities available to students in rural America. Iowa school districts have received $625,000 in grants since the program's inception.
An example of how one Iowa school used the funds
A grant received in 2014 by Lamoni Community School District in Lamoni in southern Iowa demonstrates how farmer nominations paired with outstanding school applications can positively impact schools, their students and the community through enhanced math and science curriculum.
The district used the $10,000 grant to purchase LEGO education kits for all elementary classrooms to increase student interest in STEM. The kits provide students with hands-on projects, such as construction sets, software and simple machines that can be programmed to accomplish small tasks. This new approach to teaching simple machines helped build confidence and create a sense of accomplishment for many students in the district and was very effective for students who have struggled in the past in math and science. Lamoni School District teachers have also benefitted from the grant, as the program has provided additional training in STEM education.
Farmers urged to nominate their school district before April 1
The 2016 America's Farmers Grow Rural Education program is open for farmer nominations. Between now and April 1, farmers in eligible counties can nominate a public school district in their community to apply for a $10,000 or $25,000 grant.
Nominated school districts can then submit grant applications through April 15, 2016, to compete for the funds to strengthen and expand their math or science programs. The grants support a variety of initiatives, including new technology for hands-on learning, greenhouses and outdoor classroom instruction, scientific laboratory advancements and curriculum development.
All school applications are evaluated based on merit, need and community support. The America's Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council, a group of farmers from across the U.S., will select the winning grant applications, which will be announced in August. Grow Rural Education is part of the America's Farmers initiative. Since 2010, the America's Farmers campaign and programs have advocated on behalf of farmers and their efforts to meet society's needs through agriculture. Learn more at AmericasFarmers.com.
About America's Farmers: The America's Farmers campaign highlights the importance of modern U.S. Agriculture through communications and community outreach programs that partner with farmers to impact rural America. To learn more, visit America's Farmers at AmericasFarmers.com.About the Monsanto Fund: The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of Monsanto Company, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work. Visit the Monsanto Fund at monsantofund.org