Georgia Tech receives BOOST grant to aid with K-12 STEAM programming
The Georgia Institute of Technology received a $304,000 Building Opportunities in Out-of-School Time (BOOST) grant to support its K-12 science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) programming offered by the Institute’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC). Additionally, BOOST funding will be used to provide scholarships for families from underserved and underrepresented populations to participate in CEISMC’s Saturday, afterschool, and summer programming.
“We are excited to be a recipient of the BOOST grant as this will allow us to increase our focus on social-emotional learning, expand program access to rural communities, and serve more students and families who have been significantly impacted by the pandemic,” said Sirocus Barnes, CEISMC director of student programs. “Through this funding, we can continue our strategic partnerships with school districts in the Savannah-Chatham and metro-Atlanta areas to provide high-quality experiential learning experiences outside of the classroom to Georgia’s K-12 students.”
The goal of the BOOST grant program is to provide evidence-based afterschool and summer enrichment programs that target learning acceleration and provide whole child supports, thus removing non-academic barriers to learning for students most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding for the BOOST program comes from the American Rescue Plan, and the grant program is administered by the Georgia Department of Education in partnership with the Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network (GSAN).
“Here at the Georgia Tech-Savannah campus, we are already putting these funds to use by providing scholarships and transportation to our Saturday programs from two of our partner districts: Bryan and Effingham County schools,” said Timothy Cone, CEISMC Savannah program director. “Over the next three years, the Georgia Tech-Savannah portion of this funding will benefit 800+ students from across Southeast Georgia!”
Horizons at Georgia Tech
The BOOST grant will provide support for Horizons at Georgia Tech, a year-round program that offers academic, cultural, and recreational activities such as swimming lessons to underserved students in the Atlanta area. They begin the program after kindergarten and participate through the first year of high school. On-campus remediation in math and reading is offered in the summer as well as afterschool programs and family engagement events throughout the year.
BOOST funding will also be used for Kids Interested in Discovering STEAM (K.I.D.S.) Club and STEAM Workshops, two Saturday programs hosted monthly at Georgia Tech’s main campus during the school year, and Saturday STEMLabs that take place at Georgia Tech-Savannah. These programs are designed to introduce K-12 students to various topics of science and engineering along with technology, while encouraging them to study and pursue careers in related fields.
During these sessions, students participate in a variety of hands-on activities that promote creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork. For example, Dougherty County High School students participating in the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program (GEAR UP) have already benefited from the BOOST grant. They attended a STEAM Workshop in Atlanta in late January, in which they learned how to code while composing music using EarSketch, a free, web-based platform that teaches coding through music composition.
The BOOST grant will also support CEISMC’s upcoming Summer Programs for Enrichment and Accelerated Knowledge (P.E.A.K.S.), weeklong on-campus experiences for rising second graders through high school seniors in Atlanta to increase their STEAM knowledge through various educational experiential activities.
“Our programs have a proven track record of increasing students’ interest in STEAM and STEM,” said Barnes. “Through our programs, we provide K-12 students with opportunities to engage with Georgia Tech’s faculty, staff, and students with the goal of exposing these students to leading-edge research and 21st century STEAM and STEM careers.”
—James-Addis Hill, CEISMC Communications
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