Matzie: Nearly $1 million in state grants to enhance STEM, computer science learning for Beaver County students

HARRISBURG, Feb. 11 – Two grants totaling nearly $1 million will enhance STEM and computer science learning and expand career pathways for Beaver County students, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced today. The grants will benefit the Hopewell Area and Aliquippa school districts.

“There was a time when traditional math and science classes were sufficient for students entering traditional engineering and technology-based fields,” Matzie said. “Today, all that is changed. Technology is so much a part of so many different fields that STEM and computer science learning are essential components of a complete education for kids of all ages.

“The announced grants will place our students on the right educational and career tracks by enriching school STEM and computer science curricula and providing students opportunities for hands-on STEM learning and real-world job experiences.”

The funding includes the following:

  • A $500,000 grant to the Hopewell Area School District for the Beaver County Innovation and Learning Consortium to increase the skill set of teachers and enhance their ability to provide quality computer science and STEM instruction. In addition to shared professional learning and curriculum development, the program will include student internships, job shadowing and career exploration.

  • A $443,078 grant to the Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette Inc. to allow the council and Aliquippa School District to implement district-wide STEM classes into the curriculum for the 2019-20 school year. In addition to traditional subjects, the curriculum will include career pathways specific to regional job opportunities. The grant also will fund two STEM centers – complete with advanced technology including robotics, laptops and 3-D printers – at elementary and junior/senior high schools.

“Hopewell Area’s educators and administration showcased their commitment to STEM in a visit I had with Education Secretary Pedro Rivera in a ‘Schools that Teach’ tour in August 2017. The educators, staff and administration displayed a love of teaching that was contagious.

“The secretary also visited the Aliquippa School District in 2017 and the district equally showcased the talent level of students eager to learn and educators excited to teach.” 

The grants, administered by the state Department of Education, are part of a package of $9.6 million in PAsmart advancing grants being distributed to 23 partnerships across Pennsylvania to help support enhanced computer science and STEM learning. A maximum of $500,000 is available for each grant, which is intended to support entities with 50 or more students participating in CS/STEM experiences.