District Receives Major STEAM Grant from ODE

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The Oregon Department of Education has awarded the Umatilla School District’s STEAM Academy a substantial grant under the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) Title IV-B grant program. The grant is for five years, 2018 – 2023, in the amount of $467,572.80 per year for the first three years, pending receipt of federal funds. Years number four and five will be funded at 75%.

Superintendent Heidi Sipe said, "We are thrilled to not only continue the current STEM Academy with the latest grant award, but to further adapt and improve the program to benefit students.” She said the new grant will support the STEAM Academy of Umatilla which brings all the science, technology, engineering and math classes, but adds in the arts. “We are honored to be selected and look forward to amazing opportunities for students over the next five years thanks to the financial support from the grant,” Sipe said.

The district received a 21st CCLC grant in 2004 and in 2013, and has offered some level of after-school programming consistently since 2003.  Nearly half the student population attends after-school programming at some point during the school year.

The grant application the school district submitted states that the district would like for the high-poverty students it serves to discover new, potential career paths through learning about careers and meeting professionals who can guide them to successful futures. “It is challenging for high-poverty students in rural areas to dream of careers they have not seen,” the application stated. Umatilla School District serves the highest poverty student population in Oregon and the second highest percentage of English Language Learners in the state.

Within the grant application, the district outlines four program components geared to contribute to success for students and their families:

  1. After-School Programs at all three schools (elementary, middle and high) to focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) and CTE (career & technical education) to include student-run businesses, internships, academic skill building, ESL (English as a second language) services, guest speakers, Service Saturdays, field trips and more.
  2. Summer School Programs at one site for grades K-12, with the goal of helping students reach content standards and earn credits while building work-ready skills through paid internships.
  3. Evening Education Program for adult family members of enrolled 21st CCLC students with a focus on GED preparation, ESL and parenting classes. The district is now an approved GED testing site, removing barriers for GED completion including fees absorbed by the district and flexible testing times.
  4. Mental Health Services, a new program providing mental health and socio-emotional skills building and support to students after school and to families during evening class time.

The grant application further explains that with support from the 21st CCLC grant, the district will target students at high and medium risk and add after-school supports to the intervention program so school-day and after-school teams can work together to improve student outcomes and monitor success.

Grant partners are Oregon State University Extension, InterMountain ESD, Blue Mountain Community College, FIRST (international youth robotics), Autodesk (robotics software), Umatilla County CARE, Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc. (GOBHI), City of Umatilla, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and the Umatilla Chamber of Commerce. "We appreciate the various partners who've agreed to support us in this work -- we have local, regional, state and national partners for this grant and their contributions will provide new resources and opportunities for Umatilla students,” Sipe said.

More information about the grant program can be found on the Oregon Department of Education website.

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