W. R. Brown Elementary School to Launch Innovative New STEM Program, With Support from Verizon

$20,000 Verizon Grant Aims to Drive Student Interest, Achievement in STEM Fields

DOVER, Del. – Students at W. R. Brown Elementary School in Dover soon will delve into a new technological transformation using STEM learning to connect with other learners inside and outside of school to converse, create, and publish authentic and meaningful work, with support from Verizon. 

The school has been awarded a $20,000 Verizon Innovate Learning Grant.  It is one of 80 public schools across the country to receive a grant this year as part of Verizon’s investment to help provide teachers with the resources they need to use technology more innovatively and effectively to engage students in science, technology, engineering and math.

The grant will support a program that will provide students with daily STEM instruction using a learning-management system called Schoology, which is a computer platform students will use to matriculate using STEM resources and units of instruction. The digital system will be used by all teachers and students in grades three to five and also will be expanded and integrated with the Chromebook expansion in the Caesar Rodney School District.

Access to Schoology will facilitate student learning using STEM and creativity; design and develop STEM digital-age learning experiences and assessments; model digital-age STEM work and learning; promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility; and engage in professional growth and leadership.

“The students at W. R. Brown Elementary School certainly need and deserve this literacy technological STEM connection of using networked devices and the fluency in how to use them as they are prepared for the 21st century,” said Wendy Whitehurst, the school’s achievement liaison.

According to the National Council of Teachers of English, literacy is much more than simply reading and writing texts. The organization now defines 21st century literacies as including proficiency with the tools of technology; an ability to manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information; and an ability to design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes.

“We created this program to support the integration of innovative STEM initiatives in schools across the country, and we are pleased to recognize the 80 schools that have been chosen to receive the award,” said Bonnie Metz, director of state government affairs for Verizon. “The proposal submitted by W. R. Brown Elementary School exemplifies the type of initiatives that will provide exposure to students around STEM fields and also offer students hands-on, project-based learning opportunities that will help increase their interest and achievement in STEM.”

The significant demand for STEM-educated workers has been well documented in recent years, and a 2014 report found that the STEM job market is even larger than had been reported previously. 

“By using Schoology as our blended learning platform, we can help to reduce the achievement gap, provide our students with computer technological literacy, implement an engaging STEM program, and afford them the pathway to college and career readiness,” said Susan Frampton, the principal at W. R. Brown Elementary School. “I am a former science specialist, and my dream has always been to create a STEM magnet school where children learn and practice reading, writing and math through authentic tasks. Our world is STEM.”

The Verizon Innovate Learning Grants program is part of Verizon’s commitment to the Obama administration’s ConnectED initiative, under which Verizon is providing up to $100 million in cash and in-kind contributions to drive student achievement, especially in STEM subjects.

About W. R. Brown Elementary School

W. R. Brown Elementary School believes in developing students with a Spirit of Excellence and Equity. The school community respects and nurtures diversity and uses the strongest academic instruction to produce the highest achieving students who are prepared for an evolving society. Brown Elementary provides an environment that brings student knowledge to a high level of extended thinking, ensuring that EACH child is offered challenging instruction that is delivered in ways suited to each one’s academic abilities and developmental needs. They employ a highly qualified staff that is academically and experientially prepared with ongoing training of leading- edge expertise. All students are placed at the center of every decision. Brown believes in developing the whole child, preparing them for the next steps in education.

For more information, contact Ronald Gough or Wendy Whitehurst.

About the Verizon Foundation

The Verizon Foundation is focused on accelerating social change by using the company’s innovative technology to help solve pressing problems in education, healthcare and energy management.  Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars to improve the communities where Verizon employees work and live. Verizon’s employees are generous with their donations and their time, having logged more than 6.8 million hours of service to make a positive difference in their communities.  For more information about Verizon’s philanthropic work, visit www.verizon.com/about/responsibility/; or for regular updates, visit the Foundation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/verizonfoundation) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/verizongiving).