Pennsylvania District Wins NEF STEM Leadership Award

Lehighton Schools has won the National Education Foundation's (NEF) 2016 STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Leadership Award.

The school district is one of several dozen that are participating in NEF's CyberLearning STEM+ Academy program. The program incorporates personalized learning, teacher stipends, learning management systems, mentoring, motivational rewards for students and parents, teacher training and tech support. The educational programs at the school are intended to advance a student one grade level in a subject in 20 to 30 learning hours.

Students in the district this year advanced a grade level in math and reading in 26 and 27 hours, respectively. The district will receive a $10,000 award for the achievement.

Other districts receiving distinguished achievement awards, which also carry monetary awards, are in Canton, NY; Sydney, NE; Steubenville, OH: and Warren County, PA.

NEF initiated the STEM+ Academy initiative in 2013 in conjunction with the State University of New York, TEKSystems, Pearson Education and Skillsoft to improve STEM learning in disadvantaged schools.

Districts can apply for the grants from NEF. While there are some costs to the district, some, including Lehighton, can receive matching federal grants to cover the cost.

Lehighton District Superintendent and STEM Academy Director Charlie Bachert said, "It is a great honor and privilege to be recognized with an award of this magnitude from such a prestigious group as NEF. We are fortunate to have such a strong partnership with NEF, and look forward to expanding our STEM program districtwide."

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.

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