District awarded more than $2.5 million in grants to support STEM programs

Nov. 2, 2022 – STEM education is getting a big boost in Duval County Public Schools with more than $2.5 million in grants being awarded to support instruction in robotics, flight simulation, engineering, cybersecurity, coding, and more.

The grants – two in total – will augment STEM education in select schools throughout the district at every level, from high school to elementary school.

“Early exposure to STEM-related careers will spark interest and motivate students to excel at STEM coursework in preparation for an exciting, challenging career,” said Dr. Yvonne Spinner, Director of K-12 Science for Duval County Public Schools.

It was Spinner’s team who applied for both federal grants: Project RECRUIT and Project STEM SIMS.

Project RECRUIT is a $2 million grant from the federal Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Partnership Grant Program. It will support STEM programming at 13 elementary and middle schools with significant military populations.

This includes STEM materials, activity-based learning, field trips, real-world experiences, curriculum development, and professional development opportunities in military-aligned areas such as coding, aerospace, cybersecurity, drones, and engineering.

“RECRUIT will provide hands-on learning with advanced STEM tools and technology to increase foundational STEM knowledge in elementary school; and connects STEM learning to real-world applications to increase STEM interest in middle school,” said Spinner. “RECRUIT’s professional development will give teachers the confidence and ability to deliver STEM lessons effectively.” 

The schools are Anchor Academy, Mayport Elementary, Venetia Elementary, San Mateo Elementary, Sheffield Elementary, New Berlin Elementary, Southside Estates Elementary, Oceanway Elementary, Windy Hill Elementary, Stockton Elementary, Beauclerc Elementary, Mayport Middle, and Oceanway Middle.

The Duval County Science Department is proud to announce that we are the recipient of a $600,000 DON/ONR grant to support a Modeling and Simulation career pathway and student simulator experience.

Project STEM SIMS is a $600,000 grant from the Office of Naval Research that will go toward establishing a Modeling and Simulation program at A. Philip Randolph scheduled to open in the 2023-24 school year.

Through this program, enrolled students will have the opportunity to earn a CAPE Certification in UNITY programming and a Certification in Modeling and Simulations.

Spinner said the grant will be dispersed over a period of three years and go toward creating a Florida-standards aligned curriculum, purchasing materials such as gaming computers and Virtual Reality equipment, and building a Simulation Design Lab for students to engage in learning and modeling simulations.

“This will better prepare graduates to be future operators in military careers,” said Spinner. “Successful participants will be adept at designing simulation and modeling training tools that will include high-level problem-solving. This is important in a community with large military industries that have been early adopters of simulations as training tools”.

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