BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – STEM funding continues to occupy the attention of local parent-teacher organizations and school officials in Fort Madison.
Lincoln Elementary’s Parent-Teacher Organization received a $5,000 STEM grant in September from the Freeport McMoRan Foundation to increase the STEM supplies and tools for students at that school. Freeport McMoRan is the parent company of Climax Molybdenum in Fort Madison.
The grant comes on the heels of a Richardson Elementary P.T.O. effort that combined with a district STEM grant to create the STEAMhound lab at the school, which is a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math lab.
Kelly Miller Nelton, the treasurer for the Lincoln PTO group said the grant was used to purchase nine IPADs, nine Osmos, eight Bee Bots, and all the accessories needed to use them including boards and letter mats.
She said their isn’t space in Lincoln Elementary to do a STEAM lab so the equipment will be placed along with the other STEM materials in the school’s library where teachers can check them out.
“With this grant, there is a lot of reporting requirements at the end of the school year about how much they are being used,” Miller Nelton said.
“With these being in the library, teachers will be able to check them out and we can track the usage that way.”
She said the grant was extremely valuable this year because of the reduced opportunities for fundraising in the district. The annual carnival had to be canceled due to coronavirus concerns. The district’s annual PTO Walk-A-Thon will be done by class at each school on Oct. 14 and 21 instead of at the high school track.
People wishing to donate online to that event can still do so at the following link. https://my.cheddarup.com/c/2020-walk-rock-a-thon
The PTO spent right at $6,000 on the STEM project and had to use some of the money in their account to pay for the extras.
“Anytime you can get grant money from an outside source and not have to rely on friends and families of students, it’s a great thing,” Miller Nelton said.
Miller Nelton is an accountant with Menke & Co., and said it was her first time applying for a grant, and she’s applied for two more since then.
“We’ve got some teacher that have done a donor’s choice program to get things for individual classrooms, but by applying for this grant it brought more things into the school that everyone can use,” she said.
“The school had a couple things already but there wasn’t a lot of them. We’re hoping to do more stuff like this because the things that they’re able to do with those tech things – anytime we can get this computer stuff in their hands, the better off they are.”
The Lincoln PTO is a 501c3 organization and all contributions are tax deductible.