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Ga. organization getting $1M to teach STEM subjects in rural counties

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Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 12:24 PM EST
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(WALB) - A not-for-profit organization will get $1 million to help students in six rural Georgia counties learn STEM subjects and help bridge the learning gap students have because of the pandemic.

Amanda Buice is the executive director of the Georgia Youth Science & Technology Centers (GYSTC).

Buice said it’s important to teach these kids science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills now more than ever.

“We can’t recoup the time we’ve lost with our students due to the pandemic,” Buice said. “There’s only so many hours in the day for our educators to do what they need to do, and it’s been disrupted and it’s been challenging.”

Gov. Brian Kemp announced that GYSTC is getting $1 million in federal emergency education relief money.

Buice said they hope that money will help make up for that lost time.

Some third through eighth graders in Baker and Clay counties will get Chromebooks.

The Chromebooks have STEM education programs on them that the kids can use at home, even without internet.

But that’s not all.

Amanda Buice is the executive director of the Georgia Youth Science & Technology Centers.
Amanda Buice is the executive director of the Georgia Youth Science & Technology Centers.(WALB/Zoom)

“Technology is a tool. We want to wrap it with services and people,” Buice said. “We’re going to conduct some training for teachers, and we’re going to do a lot of student programs as well.”

Those programs will happen after school and even on the weekends and will involve the students’ families as well.

Buice said STEM topics are important because of the real-world applications.

“Farmers use engineering all the time. We use a lot of STEM in ag,” Buice said, adding the pandemic is an example as well. “They are faced with needing knowledge about their own personal health, about vaccines, about how viruses transmit.”

She said we need students to learn STEM subjects, so they can help their community in return when they grow up.

“If we don’t take advantage of times and opportunities to also include the STEM subjects, then we will have a bigger problem down the road,” Buice said.

She said they hope to start using this money for these Chromebooks and student programs starting in fall 2022, but GYSTC has until September 2023 to spend this federal money.

Some third through eighth graders in Baker County will get Chromebooks.
Some third through eighth graders in Baker County will get Chromebooks.(WALB)

This isn’t the first time GYSTC has helped out in Clay County.

Last September, Siemens donated 73 Chromebooks to middle schoolers there with the help of GYSTC.

Staff said those students are already using the computers this semester.

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