In partnership with a consortium of 16 rural schools led by Aucocisco School, Spurwink’s Chelsea and Cornville schools were awarded a USDA RUS Distance Learning Grant to enhance student learning and professional development opportunities. The project is focused on enhancing digital learning opportunities, with a focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, within schools and across the consortium.
Rural schools face a number of challenges, such as small student populations and difficulty in supporting STEM learning, recruiting teachers, and providing professional development. These challenges have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS), this investment will be used to purchase teleconferencing equipment to connect consortium public, charter, and special-purpose private schools in seven counties in rural Maine. The schools will use the equipment to access professional development and STEM activities and to help fill gaps in each other’s capabilities, facilitating a more flexible and holistic approach to meeting students’ individual needs. The funds will also help provide more reliable digital learning equipment and communication for students due to the pandemic.