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Mon Valley school districts to benefit from grants

| Thursday, June 19, 2014, 2:56 a.m.
Christy Walters | Daily News
Assistant executive director for teaching and learning Rosanne Javorsky, left, Steel Valley superintendent Edward Wehrer, AIU executive director Linda Hippert and Clairton superintendent Ginny Hunt were among those taking part in Wednesday's STEAM grant presentation.

Allegheny Intermediate Unit's Center for Creativity announced the distribution of $500,000 in STEAM grants to local school districts Wednesday at the AIU's central office in Homestead.

Of the 90 applicants, 25 were chosen to receive a grant of $20,000 to be used to re-design and develop spaces in schools to engage students in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math projects.

“STEAM is more than just a name,” said Rosanne Javorsky, assistant executive director for teaching and learning. “STEAM is an inquiry-based approach to creating spaces and places that incorporate both creativity and learning.”

Of the 25 grant recipients, seven local districts were recognized — Clairton, Elizabeth Forward, South Allegheny, Steel Valley, West Jefferson Hills, Baldwin-Whitehall and Brentwood.

Steel Valley Superintendent Edward Wehrer said the district hopes to use the grant money to infuse project-based learning with design thinking into high school courses.

“We want the kids to be working with real world projects, like building a park, for example,” Wehrer said. “We'll be working with Paul Gould from Maya Design in Pittsburgh to help guide us in designing our project-based curriculum.”

Ginny Hunt, superintendent of Clairton schools, said the grant money would help the district incorporate math, science and technology into their art programs.

“We have a very creative art teacher for the middle and high schools and he's been working with other teachers to incorporate digital media into his classrooms,” Hunt said.

Linda Hippert, executive director of the AIU, stressed how important STEAM grants are to schools in the region.

“We are excited about what our region represents,” she said. “Our teachers are changing the way they are doing things and are working to shape their ideas around creativity-based learning.”

Grants were provided through funding from the Claude Worthington Benedum and Grable Foundations.

Christy Walters is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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