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Education

May 10, 2012

DMS to use STEM education

Program meant to boost career training

DUNCAN —

Because the Duncan Board of Education approved using Project Lead the Way, training for a career could start as young as middle school for Duncan students.

During Tuesday’s regular meeting, the school board approved an agreement between Duncan Public Schools and Project Lead the Way Inc. to establish a comprehensive program and curricula for science, technology, engineer and mathematics (STEM) education.

“It’s the middle school version of what Red River Technology does with its pre-engineering and biomedical classes,” assistant Superintendent Glenda Cobb said.

The school district secured $12,000 from an outside source to pay for the materials needed to run the program. The $12,000 is a one-time expenditure, and the school will be able to reuse materials from year to year. The program will cost $2,000 annually to continue with the program.

Cobb said the STEM program will increase the rigor of the curriculum at the Duncan Middle School. She said DMS Principal Mike Toone and assistant Principal Carol Bowles were receptive to the program idea and are ready to establish the program at the middle school.

The school district learned about the program while district administrators were attending a state summit. While there, Superintendent Sherry Labyer and Cobb talked with administrators from the Tulsa area who had established the STEM curriculum in their classrooms.

Labyer said the discussion was enough to get the Duncan administrators excited about the program and led them to look into funding to add the program the Duncan Middle School.

In addition to becoming involved in the program, the school board also approved purchasing 30 Dell laptop computers and one charging cart to support the STEM curriculum.

The total cost of the laptops and the charging cart was $32,443.80 and was approved to be paid with Title I funds. Title I funds are federal funds.

In other action:

n Plato Elementary will be undergoing some work, as the school’s office is moved toward the front of the building, switching places with the library. The school board approved the renovation to the school, which will use site maintenance funds for the project.

Previously, the school board approved renovating the office areas for Emerson and Horace Mann. The idea is to make it easier for visitors to find the office and for contact to be made first thing.

n The school board approved a contract with First Baptist Church to allow EDGE Academy to use the west parking lot for school parking. This is a contract that is approved annually with no money changing hands.

“We appreciate the partnership with the church,” Labyer said.

n Security cameras will be purchased for the Duncan High School and Irving Pre-Kindergarten Center, both through Solutions Boxes Inc.

The high school cameras will be purchased and reimbursed through a Department of Homeland Security Grant for $21,500. The Irving cameras will be purchased using site maintenance funds for $12,054.05.

n Board member Chris Deal, Duncan Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, gave a presentation about the Heritage Trails project. Deal said several entities through the Duncan community are working toward establishing a walking trail in Duncan.

The length of the trail would be equivalent to a 5k race. By working together, the entities may have an easier time of obtaining grants for the project, Deal said.

“We’re a community that works together,” he said.

The walking trail would include rest areas and lighted areas. Deal said there are plans to later extend the walking trail to encompass more of Duncan and possibly tie the trail into the Crapemyrtle Trail.

“It would be a wonderful asset,” Deal said. “This is just the beginning.”

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