Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Community Campus receives grant funding

Community Campus has received two grants totaling $125,000 to fund and help expand the campus’ biomedical and energy technology academies that will enroll students in the fall and next year.

An experimental partnership between local school districts, colleges and businesses, Community Campus is tasked with finding new ways to educate students. The goal is to better prepare students for college or the job market by teaching them real-world situations and applications of their lessons.


These grants are both funded by the national education initiative Project Lead the Way, according to a release from Daviess County Public Schools, one of the key partners in Community Campus.

Marcia Carpenter, DCPS College and Career Readiness Coordinator, said Project Lead the Way is an education initiative based on improving education, just as Community Campus is.

“Project Lead the Way, what makes it unique is that it is relevant, the learning that students do is meaningful and everything is related to a real-world situation. Students are hungry for relevance,” Carpenter said. “I think the fact that we received the grant is an acknowledgement of the faith they have in what is being done in this area.”

The first grant, $50,000, will go to the Life Sciences Academy that is due to enroll students for the 2012-13 school year. The funds will be used to implement a four-class course of study under the academy.

“The Life Science Academy will start for the 2012-13 school year and this grant provides the start-up money for the Project Lead the Way Biomedical Program, which will be the anchor for that academy,” Carpenter said. “It’s all learning by doing. All of the projects are based on simulations of real-life situations ... “It (the grant) also directly meets the needs that have been identified in our community for a growing health care community.”

The second grant, worth $75,000, will go to fund the Construction, Energy and Trades Academy and create an integrated pipeline course that will help middle school students interested in energy-related fields get on track to that academy.

“The energy-technology side starts with middle school. It’s a pipeline program that will lead into high school for an awareness on the kind of energy that we are using, the kinds of energy we’ll be using in the future and the consequences of energy use, such as pollution control,” Carpenter said.

Daviess County Public Schools Superintendent Tom Shelton said the grant funding is a big boost to Community Campus.

“I think it’ll definitely help us move Community Campus and our academies forward,” Shelton said. “This really builds the foundation for us in each of these programs.”

Shelton added that because of the cooperative nature of Community Campus, this money goes to help more than just one school system.

“It’ll benefit not only our district, but students from other surrounding school districts as well,” Shelton said. “These grants allow us also to have further conversations about how to structure programs for the future and continue to expand opportunities for students that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.”

Dariush Shafa, 691-7302, dshafa@messenger-inquirer.com