STEM Funding

Rural Districts Land STEM Grants with Help from Local Farmers

Rural school districts in 40 states are getting a STEM education boost, thanks to help from local farmers.

Among the winners, the Monroe City School District and the Ralls County School District in Missouri each landed $10,000 in America's Farmers Grow Rural Education grants. Launched in 2001, the program allows farmers who qualify to nominate school districts to receive grants of $10,000 or $25,000 to boost STEM education through new technology, lab upgrades, curriculum development or other projects.

"There were more than 30 farmers who advocated on our behalf for us to receive this grant," Said Tracy Bottoms, Monroe City superintendent, in a local news report about the grants. "This money is invaluable to us. We can't move forward and give our students more STEM opportunities without this."

Monroe will use its grant money to buy curriculum from Project Lead the Way for students in grades 5–8. Project Lead the Way is a nonprofit that asks students to solve challenges such as designing a therapeutic toy for a child with cerebral palsy, solving a fictional crime or cleaning up an oil spill.

"We had a basic introduction to the program last year, and we have great projects we want to do, but chemicals and other items all cost money," Bottoms said. "This money will let kids see what science looks like from a hands-on process."

Other winners of $10,000 grants (or $25,000 if noted) included:

  • Alabama: Colbert County and Madison County;
  • Arizona: Agua Fria Union High School DIstrict, Saddle Mountain Unified School District, Yuma Elementary District ($25,000);
  • Arkansas: Clarendon School District, Hamburg School District, KIPP Delta Public Schools and Monticello School District;
  • California: Guadelupe Union Elementary, Maple Elementary and Patterson Joint Unified;
  • Florida: Jackson County;
  • Georgia: Pelham City, Southwest Georgia STEM Charter School, Bleckley County and Irwin County;
  • Idaho: Hansen District and Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind;
  • Illinois: Lewiston CUSD, Newark CHSD 18, Oakwood CUSD 76, Polo CUSD 222, Prairieview-Ogden CCSD 197, Red Hill CUSD 10, Scott-Morgan CUSD 2, Somonauk CUSD 432, Thompsonville CUSD 174, Warrensburg-Latham CUSD II, A-C Central CUSD 262, Belleville TWP HSD 201, Central A&M CUD 21, Edgar County CUD 6 and Hamilton Co CUSD 10;
  • Indiana: Madison-Grant United School Corp., North Spencer County School Corp., Sheridan Community Schools, South Vermillion Community School Corp., Southwest School Corp., Tri-County School Corp., Whitko Community School Corp., Centerville-Abington Community Schools, Fairfield Community Schools, Fayette County School Corp. and Greencastle Community School Corp.;
  • Iowa; Mount Ayr Community School District, Murray Community School District, New London Community School District, Pocahontas Community School District, Seymour Community School District, South Winneshiek Community School District, Algona Community School District, Atlantic Community School District, Bondurrant-Farrar Community School District, Coon Rapids-Bayard Community School District, Davis County Community School District and Eagle Grove Community School District;
  • Kentucky: Livingston County and Ballard County;
  • Maryland: Talbot County Public Schools;
  • Michigan: Niles Community Schools, Ubly Community Schools, Vicksburg Community Schools, Hastings Area School District, Hemlock Public School District and Kingston Community School District;
  • Minnesota: Lake Park Audubon School District, Lanesboro Public School District, Murray County Public School District, Princeton Public School District, Breckenridge Public School District, Buffalo LK-Hector-Stewart Public Schools, Fairmont Area School District, Fillmore Central and Goodhue Public School District;
  • Nebraska: North Bend Central Public Schools, O'Neill Public Schools, Palmyra Schools, Shelton Public Schools, Thayer Central Community Schools, Arapahoe Public Schools and Bancroft-Rosalie Community Schools;
  • New York: Lyons Central School District and South Jefferson Central School District;
  • North Dakota: Kulm 7, Milnor 2, Carrington 49 and Hillsboro 9;
  • Ohio: Lynchburg-Clay Local, Miller City-New Cleveland Local, Milton-Union Exempted VIllage, Wayne Trace Local, Crestview Local, Graham Local and Hardin Houston Local;
  • Oklahoma: Porter Consolidated and Yarbrough;
  • Pennsylvania: Mercer Area School District, Northeast Bradford School District, Northern Tier Career Center, South Huntington County School District, Spring Cove School District, Union City Area School District, Claysburg-Kimmel School District, Homer-Center School District and Juniata Valley School District;
  • South Carolina: Florence 3;
  • South Dakota: Mitchell School District 17-2, Tea Area School District, 41-5, Wolsey Wessington School District 02-6 and Edmunds Central School District 22-5;
  • Tennessee: Lauderdale County and Robertson County;
  • Texas: Kress ISD, Memphis ISD, Odem-Edroy ISD, Woodsboro ISD, East Bernard ISD, El Campo ISD, Forsan ISD and Haskell CISD;
  • Washington: Paterson School District and Royal School District; and
  • Wisconsin: Lena School District, Montello School District, New Richmond School District, Parkview School District, Bloomer School District, Wisconsin Dells School District, Durand School District and Juda School District.

Further details can be found at americasfarmers.com/grow-rural-education.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at jbolkan@gmail.com.

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