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Eight Area Schools To Become STEM Hubs For Military-connected Students Using $2 Million DOD

Larry Plank, Ed.S., executive director of K-12 STEM education for Hillsborough County Public Schools.

Hillsborough County Public Schools has been awarded a $2 million grant from the United States Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) program that will be utilized to institute a STEM Innovation Hub consisting of eight schools. These schools will work directly with the Space Force Base, NASA, Space Trek and The Florida Aquarium.

This grant will serve over 1,500 students on the following campuses, which all have a high number of military-connected families: Bevis Elementary, Boyette Springs Elementary, FishHawk Creek Elementary, Lithia Springs Elementary, Stowers Elementary, Barrington Middle, Randall Middle and Newsome High. These schools will serve as a STEM hub across all grade bands, connecting students with exciting curriculum.

The grant will offer new coursework centered around inquiry-based learning to increase the number of elementary and middle school students connecting with new STEM opportunities. These students will ultimately have more opportunities in high school to earn STEM-related industry certifications. Aside from offering a variety of high-interest STEM-centric clubs, the grant will help to provide high-quality professional development opportunities for educators. 

“This generous grant will result in greater achievement in the STEM arena for students in our robust military communities. This will allow our all-star educators to leverage new opportunities to meet our students’ cognitive demands and ultimately prepare them for in-demand careers after graduation,” said Superintendent Addison Davis.

“We are grateful to the DoDEA for providing yet another opportunity to increase STEM offerings within Hillsborough County Public Schools. We are excited to engage parents and the community to build awareness in STEM and the multiple benefits it provides our students,” said Larry Plank, executive director of K-12 science education.

With a philosophy to “revamp, reimagine and reinvigorate” science education, Hillsborough County Public Schools has a comprehensive K-12 science and STEM program to allow all students to have equitable experiences and access to science and STEM opportunities. There are also many exciting STEM choice and magnet programs throughout the district.

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