$5,000 Rotary Grant

Empire Wins $5,000 Rotary Grant for STEM
Posted on 11/04/2019
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The Carson City School District, on behalf of the Rotary Club of Carson City, is pleased to announce Empire Elementary School as the winner of a $5,000 Grant to hold four (4) STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Parent Nights at their school. Nearly a dozen applications from teachers and teams of teachers were received for this competitive grant.

The purpose of the grant is to provide funding for a school, department or teacher(s) to implement an innovative, classroom-based project that meets the following criteria. 

  1. Aligned to specific Nevada Academic Content Standards (NVACS) and
  2. Aligned to specific strategies within Empower Carson City, 2022, the district’s strategic plan

In this case, the school plans to host Quarterly Family STEM Nights with the awarded money. Each Family STEM Night will have stations that focus on the specific content standards taught during regular classroom instruction to help reinforce and extend learning.

With the award of this grant, Empire Elementary School plans to generate excitement and exposure for STEM throughout the school and community by allowing students, teachers, families and community members to explore STEM together in a fun and educational way, said Adrienne Wiggins, STEM coach at Empire Elementary School. We are hoping to build a strong home-to-school connection by providing education activities, bringing in community partners and allowing students to showcase their STEM projects during these key events.

“We know the importance of STEM education for all students, but we know it is even more important for our population,” Wiggins continued. “Of the 500 students here, 75 percent are minorities with 225 that are English Language Learners. We are also a Title 1 school, and 100 percent of our students receive free breakfast and lunch. This means our students are already at a disadvantage.”

We need to involve our families in the learning process to build a greater understanding of the type of learning that occurs at school, she said. By providing these nights, we will educate and empower our families as we provide them with the knowledge and the tools necessary to support the learning at home.

In September, Carson City School District announced 70 percent of the schools within the district showed improvements in the latest Star Ratings report, according to the Nevada Department of Education State. With the release of the Nevada School Performance Framework (NSPF), Empire Elementary School was one of the schools in Carson City to improved enough to earn a higher star ranking, 3 stars up from 2 stars last year. It is also important to note Empire Elementary has increased their star ratings, a higher ranking each year, for the last two years.

To meet the requirements of the grant, the project must be implemented between Nov. 1, 2019 and May 29, 2020; with all funds obligated by June 30, 2020. Empire Elementary School must be willing to share the results of their work via a presentation (that includes pictures, video, etc.) to the Rotary Club of Carson City during a regularly scheduled lunch meeting in June of 2020.