What would a public school do with an extra $10,000 to improve student achievement in science, technology, engineering and math?
How about starting a science fair? Or building a robot? Or helping teachers catch up to their tech-savvy students?
These are among 15 creative educational-improvement ideas that will come to fruition, thanks to $150,000 in grants awarded Monday (May 10) by the Verizon Foundation as part of the 2010 Think Ahead with Verizon Thinkfinity Awards.
In a ceremony at Malden High School, Verizon Region President Donna Cupelo and Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Senior Associate Commissioner Bob Bickerton announced $10,000 awards to 15 Massachusetts school districts. The recipients will incorporate Verizon Thinkfinity resources in classroom projects that are designed to improve student performance on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System test and other educational goals. Malden Mayor Richard C. Howard and Malden High School Principal Dana Brown hosted the ceremony.
Verizon Thinkfinity (www.thinkfinity.org) is a free educational website that contains thousands of engaging educational resources that make learning fun. Lesson plans, in-class activities and homework help can be found quickly and searched by grade level, keyword or subject.
This is the second year Verizon has operated the $150,000 Thinkfinity grant program. This year's program is designed to focus on science, technology, education and math (STEM) skills. Verizon has a history of helping strengthen the pipeline of students focused on STEM careers, and participates on the Massachusetts Governor's STEM Advisory Council, led by Lt. Gov. Tim Murray.
"We are impressed with the creative ideas that focus on the critical need to improve STEM skills among students," said Cupelo. "Verizon is dedicated to helping students strengthen their STEM skills so that they are prepared to succeed in STEM-related higher-education programs and careers, which often pay significantly higher wages than non-technical jobs."
Verizon awards were made to schools in Agawam, Arlington, Chelsea, Dorchester, Gardner, Hamilton-Wenham, Marlborough, Malden, Natick, Northborough-Southborough, Norton, Orleans, Southampton, West Roxbury and Wrentham. (A complete list of the grant recipients and their projects can be found at www.verizon.com/ma.)
Verizon received 55 applications for the Thinkfinity grants from school systems throughout Massachusetts.
In addition to these grants, the Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, recently awarded $205,000 to support a partnership with Lesley University and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to train teachers to use Verizon Thinkfinity in the classroom. To date, more than 3,000 Massachusetts teachers have received this training.
"Thinkfinity.org is an innovative tool that provides educators with creative, interactive resources to enhance the curriculum and improve student learning," said Bickerton.
Content for Verizon Thinkfinity is provided through a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and 11 of the nation's leading organizations in the fields of education and literacy: the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Council for Economic Education, International Reading Association, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Center for Family Literacy, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Council of Teachers of English, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Geographic Society, ProLiteracy and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 93 million customers nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 217,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.