Iowa School District Receives $25,000 Grant to Improve STEM Curriculum

Students who commit to courses of study related to STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) are 35 percent more likely to finish college, according to Education Week. Thanks to the support of local farmers and America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, Western Dubuque Community School District in Iowa received a $25,000 grant to increase student engagement in STEM by purchasing Vernier Lab Equipment, along with training to design hands-on, dynamic lessons for secondary students. This equipment will be used in math, science and agriculture labs at both high schools.

America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, offers farmers the chance to nominate a local public school district, which can then compete for a grant of up to $25,000 to enhance math and/or science education. More than 1,150 nominated school districts submitted applications during the last program year.

“We want to say thank you to our nominating farmers,” said Kelly Simon, director of curriculum and assessment for Western Dubuque Community School District. “We are impressed by their commitment to our schools. The cornerstone of our successful community is our commitment to rural living and the importance we place on education. This grant is evidence of how we continue to help future generations grow together.”

Western Dubuque Community School District was presented with the $25,000 grant at a ceremony at the high school football game last fall.

Nominated school districts across the country submitted grant applications last spring. During the summer, a panel of educators from ineligible districts reviewed and evaluated applications based on merit, need and community involvement. The strongest submissions were then sent to the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council. The Advisory Council, comprised of farmer-leaders with an interest in agriculture and education, selected the winning grant applications from this pool of finalists.

America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education launched nationally in 2012 and has grown to include 1,289 eligible counties in 39 states. Since its inception, the program has invested nearly $5 million in rural school districts across the country.

America's Farmers Grow Rural Education helps farmers support math and science education in local rural school districts. Currently in its third year, this program is part of the Monsanto Fund's overall effort to support rural education and communities. The 2014 nomination period is Jan. 6 to April 6, 2014. Applications are due April 21, 2014. To learn more about the program, please visit GrowRuralEducation.com.