$20,000 Bosch donation supports tech programming in Charleston County schools

Lang Middle seventh-grader Helen Mullane solders a circuit as Victoria Mahe looks on. As the school district looks to expand science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education across middle and high schools, district official say the integrated approach at Laing could be a model for the future.

The Bosch Community Fund is donating a nearly $20,000 grant to support science, technology, engineering and math opportunities for middle and high school students in Charleston County public schools.

The grant will support a problem-based learning course that the district began offering this year in some middle and high schools. Teachers from those schools have been developing curricula based on solving community problems, such as harbor pollution and groundwater contamination.

According to Rodney Moore, the district’s science curriculum specialist, teachers are trying to find ways to incorporate problem-solving into every classroom, from science to English.

“It’s like community science or citizen science, if you will,” Moore said.

With the help of the Bosch grant, the program will be available to any middle or high school in the district with an interest. As teachers prepare to introduce the first round of problem-solving class work to their students, the grant will also help fund laboratory equipment and field trips for students to conduct observations and experiments.

STEM education, often touted in education circles as a key to maintaining global competitiveness for high-tech jobs, is already in full force in at least one district school, Mount Pleasant’s Laing Middle School of Science and Technology. Moore said the integrative approach at Laing, where real-world problems like access to clean drinking water are addressed across every discipline, could serve as a model for other schools as the problem-solving program expands.

“This group of teachers went to Laing just last Friday, so we can see the application,” Moore said.

Sandy Brossard, the district’s interim executive director of curriculum and instruction, said the district was “sincerely grateful” for the Bosch grant.

“Expanded STEM offerings will have an impact on our schools for years to come,” Brossard said.

Reach Paul Bowers at 843-937-5546 or twitter.com/paul_bowers.