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Facebook Grants Support FWISD CTE Initiatives

Fort Worth ISD teachers and students are the recipients of computer science training, new robotics kits and STEM trailers, thanks to two Facebook Community Action Grants totaling more than $96,000. teachers

Representatives from Facebook announced Friday, November 15 that the social media company is providing a $60,000 grant to support new VEX robotics kits for the I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA and to complete two 32-foot District STEM trailers. The trailers will be utilized by the District’s Career and Technical Education Department and will travel to Districtwide K-8 schools and other community events. The mobile makerspace provides foundational activities for elementary students, including the option of Project Lead the Way Launch modules, and design-related activities for middle school. The culminating activities include career exploration to inform and spark student interest in STEM degrees and careers.

The grant announcement was made at the start of a two-day training for FWISD teachers.  A separate grant, totaling approximately $36,000, makes it possible for about 20 FWISD middle school teachers and instructional coaches to receive computer science training on coding, November 15 and 16. The teachers will attend an additional two days of training next spring.  View photos from the November workshop and grant presentation here.  

“I’m very excited about the potential we have of growing our own engineering, STEM pathway and thinking about what we can do at the early-age level starting … at elementary and building an educational process that sparks their interest … into a potential [choice] for college or careers,”  said Jerry Moore, FWISD Chief Academic Officer. 

About 20 FWISD teachers recently attended the workshop on coding at Fort Worth’s Trinity Valley School. The two-day course equips teachers with tools for teaching computer science in sixth-grade classrooms. The professional development workshop, titled “Creative Coding: Math with BYTE,” was created at Trinity Valley School.  training

“The curriculum is made up of adaptive lessons for a variety of computing platforms geared toward college and career readiness. Students will gain tools for work skills, problem solving, perseverance, and growth mindset, leading to economic advancement,” said Ladye Welpman, STEM programming coordinator for FWISD’s Choice and Enrichment Programming Department. “FWISD has revamped all middle school CTE programs to provide equitable access for all students and to better support high school pathways. A sequence of coursework for grades 6 through 8 has been developed and includes computer literacy, computer enrichment, investigating careers and STEM, college and career readiness, and a capstone course. All coursework benefits students by providing technical knowledge needed to make informed choices and the skills needed to be successful in high school.”

 Approximately 60 public and private school educators from the North Texas, Houston and Austin areas have participated in the professional development offered at Trinity Valley School, according to Ian Craig, the school’s headmaster. Teachers from Fort Worth ISD are the latest group to take the workshop.  

“We believe that a partnership with our public schools is not about public versus private,” he said. “It’s about doing everything that we possibly can, because a strong city and a strong Fort Worth is going to make us all better.” 

Ed Ames, site manager for the Fort Worth Data Center at Facebook, said the Facebook Community Action Grant Program addresses critical needs in the community and uses the power of technology for community benefit.  

“Facebook is committed to playing a critical role in the long-term vitality of Fort Worth and progressing STEM and educational activities in the region,” he said.   

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