Coleman Middle School has been awarded the inaugural Innovation Fund Tiny Grant. Sheila Harmony, the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) coordinator at the school says the $9,557 grant will be used to implement a project in which students will use drones to explore the waste inventory of the Chattahoochee River.
“I am beyond excited about winning this inaugural grant from the Governor's Office,” Harmony said. “We, as a school, are proud and honored to be the first school selected to receive the grant and it is a testament to the hard work and dedication our students and staff exhibit every day.”
Programs and projects funded by Tiny Grants must align with one of three of the following priority areas: applied learning with a focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education, development and replication of blended learning school models, and birth-to-age-eight language and literacy development. The grants will provide eligible organizations between $1,000 and $10,000 to implement small-scale pilot programs that directly impact students. The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) will accept and award Tiny Grants on a rolling basis. Each grantee will evaluate the project’s effectiveness and submit bi-annual updates to GOSA.
“Our students at Coleman Middle will be completely immersed in STEAM with our underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROV's). This project engages students in real-world applications, which is a cornerstone of our mission and vision,” Harmony said.
The Innovation Fund invests in public education entities that aggressively develop and scale programs that enable Georgia educators to improve student performance and tackle our state’s most significant education challenges. In 2011, the Innovation Fund began as a $19.4 million competitive grant competition created under Georgia’s Race to the Top (RT3) Plan. To continue the Innovation Fund’s work beyond RT3, Deal appropriated state funding for Fiscal Years (FY) 2015, 2016, and 2017. Since its inception, the Innovation Fund has invested over $31 million of state and federal funding through 78 grants to 50 school districts, charter schools, postsecondary institutions and nonprofit organizations to pilot innovative education programs, ranging in focus from teacher and leader induction and development to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) applied learning, blended learning, and birth-to-age-eight language and literacy development. More information about the Innovation Fund can be found on the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement website.