Twinsburg High School has received a "start-up" grant to develop a new Advanced Placement environmental science course.
The new course is expected to begin next school year, said Twinsburg Superintendent Kathryn Powers.
The grant comes as part of the AP Access program, made possible by a $5 million gift from Google to DonorsChoose.org to start hundreds of new STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) courses in schools across the country. The College Board is also involved in developing the program.
Twinsburg High School met the College Board’s rigorous grant criteria based upon data from student test scores on the PSAT and the National Merit Scholar qualifying test, according to Powers. Only 18 schools in Ohio were awarded grant funds.
"This grant will provide 'start-up' funding for classroom resources, educational materials, and teacher professional development," Powers said.
Education Week reports that each school will receive between $1,200 to $9,000 to pay for classroom materials, technology and teacher training.
The AP STEM Access program, is designed to increase the number of traditionally underrepresented minority and female high school students to participate in AP courses.
Participating in the AP STEM Access program will provide Twinsburg High School students with an unprecedented opportunity for exposure to rigorous course work and will increase their potential to earn college credit while still in high school.
"This funding will enable the new AP Environmental Science STEM course to become an integral part of the school’s overall AP course offerings," said Twinsburg High Principal Louise Teringo.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the growth in STEM jobs was three times as fast as growth in non-STEM jobs over the last ten years.
STEM jobs are expected to grow by 17 percent during the 2008–2018 period versus 9.8 percent growth for non-STEM jobs. African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino and female students in the U.S. are less likely to study math and science in college or pursue related careers than their counterparts.
"This funding will help increase opportunities for more of our minority and female students to participate in rigorous AP STEM coursework and lay the foundation for their future success in college and beyond," Powers said.
"There are hundreds of thousands of talented students in this country who are being left out of the STEM equation," said Jacquelline Fuller, the director of giving at Google, in a press release. "We're focused on creating equal access to advanced math and science courses, and ensuring that advanced classrooms become as diverse as the schools themselves."
Under the grant program, teachers will be able to improve their classroom experience if their students succeed. All AP STEM teachers who increase diversity in their classrooms will receive a $100 Donorschoose.org gift card for each student that receives a score of 3 or higher on an AP STEM exam. Teachers can then use those gift cards to invest in class resources.