Local Employer Helping to Boost Math and Science Learning

HCS Press ConferenceAccording to numbers cited Tuesday by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, students in our country aren’t getting dumber or smarter, but they ARE falling behind the rest of the world in some very important areas.

In fact, U.S. students placed below average in math and science. Where other countries have improved, we have remained stagnant. In math, U.S. high school scores were in the bottom quarter of the countries that participated, trailing countries including Finland, China, and Estonia. In science, the United States falls behind countries such as Canada, Japan, and the Czech Republic.

But thanks to a $23,000 grant from the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), students at a local middle school will be getting a boost in their science and math education. The money will help start a Project Lead the Way program, an engineering curriculum for middle and high school students. The grant will allow James T. Alton Middle School in Vine Grove to buy resources and enable it to start the program in the spring. A full rollout of the program is expected in the 2013-14 school year.

SAIC is a scientific, engineering, and technology applications company. In 2010 the company gave a $27,000 grant to North Hardin High School in Radcliff for the same program. “The Project Lead the Way curriculum provides such a fantastic opportunity for our students,” James T. Alton Middle School Principal Jama Bennett said. “It will give our students a leg-up in competitive environments. After they receive the fundamentals of the program here, and the crux of it at North Hardin, the sky will be the limit.”

Hardin County Schools Superintendent Nannette Johnston said it’s the district’s responsibility to give students an opportunity to be successful in the future, and Project Lead the Way assists in that mission. According to Jim Holt, SAIC vice president and manager of information and data systems, the foundation for being a competitive company starts at the local level. “This grant is an investment in the local community that we and our employees are a part of, and one that will provide dividends for years to come.”

It’s great to see a local employer taking the time and dollars to help our students improve their skill levels and become more competitive themselves. In an era of budget cutting, it’s this kind of civic-minded investment that can set our region apart. The Kix team salutes SAIC for a job well done.