One of Nashville’s largest technology companies will award more than $10,000 in grants to three Metro Nashville public schools, the company said Tuesday.
The grants will go to classes at Antioch Middle School, H.G. Hill Middle School and Jere Baxter Middle School to support creative ways to teach science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM).
“We thank Dell for this generous grant that supports our teachers and students at such a critical time,”Adrienne Battle, MNPS director of schools, said in a statement. “I’m proud of the innovative ways in which our teachers are working to engage and inspire our students, and I congratulate this year’s winners … MNPS’ STEAM education is enhanced by the support of strong partners like Dell.”
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Dell Technologies has called Nashville home for 20 years, and this is its fourth round of STEAM Innovation Grants designed to help bridge a digital divide caused by lack of access. The pandemic provided new challenges for applicants and a judgement panel of community leaders and nonprofits, but it was nothing some creativity couldn’t solve, Dell Site Director and Senior Sales Manager Henry Pile said.
MNPS School teachers and administrators submitted 13 total applications for the grant — an increase from the prior grant cycle. Plans had to be tailored to fit virtual and socially-distanced learning.
Thomas Yan of the Antioch Middle School STEAM class will use $3,000 in grant money from Dell to purchase a drone that will allow him to capture high-quality videos of science experiments students would normally do in person (think mini-rocket launches). Sarah Bills at H.G. Hill Middle School Visual Arts class plans to use $2,500 in funds to teach students about the seven elements of art through prism spectrum rainbow drawings. Jere Baxter’s STEAM class, led by Rebecca Hunter, will receive $5,000 and plan to purchase a kit to teach math and physics through sports, and a new audio and camera system to improve the learning experience for English language learners and hearing-impaired students.
Pile said he considered studying to become a teacher in college because he liked the idea of finding fun, interesting ways to show younger people how the world works. That type of creativity is reflected in the winning project proposals, he said.
“I remember being a kid and the rocket launching and understanding about science and the atmosphere,” Pile said. “It was so much fun, and I’m glad the teachers were able to find creative ways to keep that kind of experiment going.”
Teachers and administrators will determine how grant funds will be distributed for their respective programs. Dell will deliver the funds by the end of 2020, and funds must be exhausted by the end of the current school year.
“We’re a massive global business, but when we think about where we’re going to invest our dollars and our time, it’s always focused on Nashville and the Middle Tennessee area,” Pile said. “I think people would really be surprised how many hours every week we invest in just talking about what we’re going to do next, how we’re going to support the schools, how we’re going to support our nonprofit partners, how we’re going to support our own team members who may be going through challenging times, especially during the pandemic.”
Cassandra Stephenson covers business at The Tennessean, part of the USA Today Network — Tennessee. Reach Cassandra at [email protected] or at (731) 694-7261. Follow Cassandra on Twitter at @CStephenson731.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: These Metro Nashville schools will receive grants from Dell for science, math, arts programs