NSF Rural Initiative Grantees: The National Science Foundation announced two five-year, $10 million grants last week for projects designed to improve the mathematics and science skills of more than 300,000 students in rural schools.
One of the grants--which are administered through the NSF's Rural Systemic Initiatives in Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education--went to West Texas A&M University in Canyon. The university runs the Texas Rural Systemic Initiative and will use the grant to form partnerships between higher education institutions and up to 227 qualifying school districts. The partnerships will seek to improve technology training, classroom curricula, and learning opportunities for students.
"The Texas Rural Systemic Initiative will address barriers to high-quality science and mathematics in rural schools," said Judy Kelley, the associate director of the Texas Engineering Experiment Station, a university-based research agency that is working on the project.
The effort will begin with a start-up group of 26 districts whose enrollments total about 34,000 students. All of the state's high-poverty districts in counties with fewer than 20,000 residents will be eligible.
The second grant was awarded to the Navajo Nation's education division in Window Rock, Ariz. The agency will use the funding for the Navajo Rural Systemic Initiative.
The program is expected to reach 70,000 children on or near the Navajo Nation in Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. Like the Texas program, the Navajo Nation program will focus on improving science and math learning.
More information on the NSF's Rural Systemic Initiative in Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education is available by calling (703) 306-1684.
On the Internet: A new World Wide Web site that focuses exclusively on rural education issues went on-line last week.
The site is sponsored by Organizations Concerned about Rural Education, a Washington-based coalition of national rural, education, and business groups. Beginning this week, the Web site is expected to provide a preview and ordering instructions for a new educational videotape on grassroots organizing to build new schools.
"We're trying to reach organizations interested in rural programs," Charles O. Conrad, the coalition's executive director, said of the Web initiative. "We'll be updating it regularly with news about activities, education, and legislation."
The Web site can be found at www.ruralschools.org.
--ROBERT C. JOHNSTON
Vol. 18, Issue 7, Page 8