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DD2 receives $64,000 to boost STEAM programs at Summerville schools

DD2 receives $64,000 in STEAM grants

Dorchester District 2 is receiving $64,000 in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics grants to be spread among programs at 15 of the district's 26 schools. Provided

SUMMERVILLE — Dorchester District 2 has received $64,000 in grant money for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics programs.

The money will be dispersed among 15 of the 26 schools in the district, said Ralph Hayes, director of the DD2 Educational Foundation, a nonprofit partner that works to secure funding. The district more than tripled the number of grants received. Last year the district received 10 grants worth $13,000, and this year it will receive 36 grants worth more than $60,000.

The grants are from the Bosch Community Fund, the charitable arm of Bosch, the engineering company. Hayes said Bosch likes to give teacher grants in all the communities where they have employees. Based in Michigan, Bosch has a local facility in Summerville.

Each teacher writes their own grant application, but Hayes is there to advise if needed as the liaison. Hayes said part of his job is to promote the grants and help make teachers aware of the opportunities they would provide.

Among those receiving grant money are programs like "Digital Microscopes" at Alston Middle School, "Ignite the LIT in Literature" at Beech Hill Elementary School, “PYE-Ntists Robot Design and Build” at Joseph R. Pye Elementary School and "Fostering STEM with eSports" at Ashley Ridge High School. 

Robbins said STEAM experiences in schools help embrace innovation and education, which is important as one of his goals to keep DD2 as a leader in the Lowcountry.

“These grants and STEAM experiences embedded into our classrooms helps foster critical thinking, and that’s an important aspect for any development of any student and child,” Robbins said. “It’s an ever-changing world we live in, and we want them to be adaptable to that environment.”

He added that he’s been meeting with John Truluck and Michelle McDonald, Dorchester County's director and deputy director of economic development, in an effort to make sure what’s being taught in schools will help students succeed in finding jobs after graduation. 

“I shared with (McDonald) the need to have very open dialogue that as the new jobs coming into the community evolve, if we need to evolve our instructional programming in our district to help employers find employable students. It’s important for us to know,” Robbins said.

Hayes and Robbins both said the grants will provide a lot of support in STEAM programs. Robbins expressed gratitude for DD2’s partnership with the educational foundation, and the partnerships the foundation has as well, saying it’s thanks to those that the district is able to provide the tools that help teachers and students.

Hayes added that DD2 is the only district in the Lowcountry to have an educational foundation.

“A lot of people don’t realize Dorchester School District Two is one of the lower-funded districts in South Carolina, so what we do is we build partnerships and raise funds to create opportunities for teachers so that we can enhance the learning environment and make sure that our teachers and students have those resources and equipment needed to stay at the top of the game,” Hayes said.

Hayes said he hopes to have even more teachers apply for grants for the upcoming year.

“We want our teachers to know that they’re valued. We want our teachers to feel like they have someone in their corner,” Hayes said. “We’re excited to create those situations where people know how to support the teachers of the district.”

For more information or to learn more about donating, visit the DD2 Educational Foundation website at dd2foundation.org.

Reach Maddy Quon at mquon@postandcourier.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaddyQuon. 

Maddy Quon covers the Berkeley and Dorchester counties for The Post and Courier. Most recently from Tokyo, Japan, Maddy graduated from the University of Mississippi where she studied journalism.

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