Regional school districts to benefit from $5 million grant to boost STEM Instruction in Struggling Schools

The content of this article is shared from the School District of Manatee County.

(Bradenton, FL – November 27, 2018) The School District of Manatee County is one of 11 school districts in the state slated to benefit from a $5 million grant to boost professional development programs for K-9 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teachers in struggling schools, according to a release today from the University of Florida.

Nancy Ruzycki, Ph.D., Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Laboratories at the UF Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering’s Department of Materials Science & Engineering, received the $5M “Supporting Effective Educator Development” (SEED) grant recently awarded to her by the U.S. Department of Education.

The project, “Engaged Quality Instruction through Professional Development” (EQuIPD) will involve 11 urban to rural counties within Florida, including Hillsborough, Palm Beach, Hardee, Hendry, Okeechobee, Glades, DeSoto, Highlands, St. Johns, Sarasota and Manatee counties. These districts account for over 30% of elementary schools on Florida’s lowest 300 list and contain 12 schools listed as persistently underperforming (FLDOE, 2017).  Schools in the EQuIPD project will benefit directly from targeted teacher professional development programs that will ultimately increase the number of highly qualified STEM elementary and middle school teachers in these schools, resulting in improved student learning activities and outcomes.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our students and teachers to be involved in a groundbreaking efforts to improve instruction in our K-9 STEM classrooms,” said Superintendent Cynthia Saunders. “This should help us attract teachers in those critical areas who want to work closely with Dr. Ruzycki and other leaders in these fields.”

For more information, please visit UF Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering website.