North Dakota Public School District Receives $10,000 Grant to Implement Robotics Program

Students at Manvel 125 Public School District, N.D., will soon experience STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) through a new robotics program. Thanks to the support of local farmers and America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, Manvel 125 School District received a $10,000 grant to purchase LEGO robotics kits, Chromebook laptops and computer software to implement robotics education in grades 7-8. The robotics program will introduce students to modern technology and allow them to learn more about STEM as they build and program LEGO robots.

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 are very excited to integrate robotics into our curriculum,” said Richard Ray, school administrator at Manvel 125 Public School. “This grant will allow our students to have an experience they wouldn’t have otherwise had, and they will benefit from it.”

To celebrate the success of the school district, a check presentation took place last Nov. at the school district’s annual Turkey Bingo Fundraiser event. A representative from Monsanto, nominating farmers, community members, and faculty were present at the ceremony.

“With the robotics program, the students will be able to learn about science, technology, engineering and math,” said Joel Foss, middle school teacher and technology coordinator at Manvel 125 Public School District. “Hopefully, introducing them to this type of hands-on learning and technology will get students interested in the field of engineering.”

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.

“A record number of America’s farmers stepped up to improve math and science education in farming communities across the country,” said Deborah Patterson, Monsanto Fund president. “By nominating their local school districts to compete for this grant opportunity, these farmers demonstrated their dedication to growing the next generation. The Monsanto Fund is committed to strengthening rural America and this program is an exciting way to honor that commitment.”

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.