ADM Next Generation Science Standards Grant announcement!

DECATUR — Area teachers who took part in a series of training workshops during the past school year will have some additional help in implementing new ways to teach science.

The Education Coalition of Macon County, or EdCo, and Archer Daniels Midland Co. announced Tuesday details of ADM’s Next Generation Science Standards grant as new state-mandated procedures emphasize real-world applications of learning. The grant will be available to middle and high school science teachers who attended the iBIO Institute EDUCATE Center’s training during the 2015-2016 academic year.

Funding can sometimes restrict teachers in the types of lessons they can develop, said Dani Craft, EdCo executive director.

“This grant removes those financial barriers,” Craft said. “We do not want progress to stop. We hope to achieve a positive impact for teachers and students in our community.”

Developing a pipeline of talent who are able to develop solutions for a premier global business is vital to ADM’s future success, said Paul Bloom, vice president, process and chemical research.

“We’re looking for the next generation of problem solvers that can come in and hit the ground running,” Bloom said. “We thought we could really help.”

Feedback from teachers attending the workshops supported the decision to provide further support for their efforts, Bloom said. Craft said 66 teachers attended the workshops.

Sangamon Valley is among the schools looking to develop its science curriculum by offering more lab based opportunities, said Jonathan Field, high school principal. “We can provide resources more readily,” Field said. “Projects can be hands on.”

The grants can help to remove road blocks that have hindered the development of science-focused education, said Sarah Andrews, science coordinator for Decatur Public Schools.  “Science has not been on the front burner of education,” Andrews said. “Feeding the world, they’re going to be around for that.”

Bloom said ADM is among the agricultural companies operating with the goal of needing to feed 9 billion people by 2050.

“That’s double the output of food and energy production from what it is today,” Bloom said. “We will need more food than what has been made in the past 10,000 years.”

Teachers can apply for up to a $750 grant to purchase supplies for lesson implementation. Supplies include consumables, science lab kits, software programs or science equipment.

The funds will be managed through the Community Foundation of Macon County.