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Ava R-1 Schools Receive $20K STEM Grant

Michael Boyink/Herald

Dr Jason Dial (right) accepts a check for $20,000 from David Hosick, Senior Program Director for Project Lead The Way at Missouri S&T. Ava Schools will use the funds for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math curriculum, equipment, and instructor training at the middle-school levels. Others in the photo are (left to right) Renee Stillings, 6th Grade Math Teacher, Wendell Bailey, SOAR board member and former Missouri State Treasurer, Ebanee Nelson, Thomas Merritt, Malachi Williams, Isaac Dalton, Orion Gamboa, Meliyah Moore, Matilynn Goss, Paris Henry, Hope Harvill, Brad Cleavenhagen, Ava 7th Grand Science Instructor, and Marcella Swatosh, Ava Schools Director of Instruction and Intervention.

by Michael Boyink /

Jobs are requiring a greater use of technology. Our schools need to adapt. 

And thanks to some recent decisions made by Missouri’s legislators, Ava schools will get a jump start in providing that education. 

“Jobs in the 21st century will be much more complex and technical than anything we’ve seen in the past,” says Missouri Senator Mike Cunningham in a recent news release. “If we are going to attract employers and keep good jobs in our area, it’s vital that we prepare our children to compete in today’s high-tech workplace. Not every student will go to college, but all young people can benefit from a foundation in the STEM fields.”

To that end, the Missouri General Assembly approved $250,000 in funds for STEM-related curriculum, equipment, and instructor training for 41 school districts in Missouri.

And Ava is one of them.

On Monday, David Hosick, Senior Program Director for Project Lead The Way (PLTW) at Missouri S&T was in Ava to present the school with a check for $20,000. 

PLTW provides science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum for students pre-kindergarten through high school in computer science, engineering and biomedical science. 

Missouri S&T has been the statewide PLTW affiliate for Missouri since 1997 and has trained thousands of teachers through the program since that time.

Marcella Swatosh, Ava’s Director of Instruction and Intervention, says the funds will be used to implement two PLTW curriculums for all students at the middle-school level:

Computer Science for Innovators and Makers, described as “programming for the physical world by blending hardware design and software development, allowing students to discover computer science concepts and skills by creating personally relevant, tangible, and shareable projects.”

Medical Detectives, described as  Students play the role of real-life medical detectives as they collect and analyze medical data to diagnose disease. They solve medical mysteries through hands-on projects and labs, measure and interpret vital signs, examine nervous system structure and function, investigate disease outbreaks, and explore how a breakdown within the human body can lead to dysfunction.”

The funds will also cover 50 new Chromebooks for the middle school, and training for the teachers involved in delivering the curriculum.