Twelve school districts in Washington, Greene and Fayette counties will share $87,900 in grants aimed at enhancing STEAM-education opportunities.

Those grants are part of a quarter-million-dollar package that will benefit 43 school districts in Southwestern Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia and eastern Ohio. The funding is through a partnership of Chevron, EQT and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

This is the third year of this partnership program, through which these “Innovation Grants” are awarded to districts, mostly in rural areas, to help them step up education in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

Funding for the Pennsylvania schools is going toward coding, robotics and music as well as STEAM subjects. There are 13 projects in the 12 districts, with two going to Connellsville Area. Here is a breakdown by county:

Washington – Avella Area, junior/senior high school, Media Center Enhancement, $6,300; Bethlehem-Center, high school, The STEAM Adventures of Tom Sawyer, $7,200; Burgettstown Area, elementary center, Remake Research, $7,500; Fort Cherry, elementary center, Battlebots; Innovative Creators of Technology & Design, $6,900; Trinity Area, high school, T Talk, $7,500.

Greene – Carmichaels Area, elementary, middle, high school, Financial Literacy Lab, $7,500; Central Greene, smART Space 2.0, $75,00; Jefferson-Morgan, middle/high school, print shop, $7,500; West Greene, junior/senior high school, 21st Century Fabrication Technologies and the Business Classroom, $7,500.

Fayette – Connellsville Area, middle school and Connellsville Area Career & Technical Center, Real World Innovations for Career Success, $7,500; and West Crawford School, Circuit Boards, $4,000; Frazier, elementary school, Environmental Learning Extension, $7,500.

Across the border, 12 projects in five Belmont County, Ohio, districts will split $63,800, and 18 projects in 10 West Virginia county school districts will receive a combined $107,500.

James Denova, vice president of the Benedum Foundation, said in a statement: “Small grants like these are incredibly valuable in tapping the creativity of frontline teachers working with community partners. There are a lot of inspiring ideas out there, but they are often overlooked by large scale top-down projects.

“In many ways, the grassroots approach to (the) innovation grants democratizes reform in public education.”

Business Writer

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won eight individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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