Grant awarded to fund robotics programs at three schools

September 28, 2011 

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Three more Beaufort County schools will have robotics programs, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Broad River, Coosa and Shell Point elementary schools were awarded a three-year, $518,000 competitive grant from the department, the Beaufort County School District announced Wednesday.

Principals of the three schools plan to meet Friday to make plans for the grant. It will be used to purchase robotics kits and animation software, Coosa principal Carmen Dillard said.

Money also will go toward one-on-one tutoring in math, science and literacy, and pay tuition and book costs for teachers who take graduate-level math and science courses.

Dillard said Coosa may start some before- or after-school robotics programs. She also plans to visit other Beaufort County schools with robotics programs to learn more.

There are robotics programs at Red Cedar, Pritchardville, Okatie, Michael C. Riley, Bluffton and Lady's Island elementary schools and Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts. All the district's high schools, except Whale Branch Early College High School, have robotics programs, district spokesman Jim Foster said.

The Department of Defense "Joint Strike" grant program aims to increase teacher knowledge in mathematics and enhance science, technology, engineering and math instruction, according to a district news release.

The district estimates that one in four students at Broad River and Coosa, and one in five students at Shell Point come from military families.

Foster said the grant will follow students from Shell Point to Broad River elementary next year when Shell Point is closed.

Follow reporter Rachel Heaton at twitter.com/HomeroomBft.

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