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Golden LEAF Awards $750,000 Grant to Avery County Schools To Expand STEM Efforts

At its June 2015 Board meeting, the Golden LEAF Foundation awarded Avery County Schools a $750,000 Community-Based Grantsmaking Initiative grant to allow the district to expand science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programing for its middle and high school students.

“The Golden LEAF Foundation is pleased to help build the talent, knowledge and skill of our future generations, especially in NC’s tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and rural communities,” said Dan Gerlach, Golden LEAF President. “The grant will fund STEM education improvements for middle and high school students in Avery County, providing the skills needed for a 21st Century workforce equipped for the high quality, high paying jobs available now and in the future.”

Project BUILD: Building a Unified Innovative Learning District will allow the district to expand its existing Project Lead The Way (PLTW) program. PLTW is the nation’s leading provider of STEM programs.

Supt. Burleson
Supt. Burleson

The program provides, “a world-class curriculum and high-quality teacher professional development model, combined with an engaged network of educators and corporate and community partners,(to) help students develop the skills necessary to succeed in our global economy. PLTW schools can be found in rural, urban, and suburban districts; across all income levels; as well as in public, private, and charter schools. PLTW’s success in preparing students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed has been recognized by colleges and universities, Fortune 500 businesses, and numerous national organizations.”

The Golden LEAF funding for the Avery County Schools BUILD initiative includes professional development, curriculum kits, supplies and computer equipment needed to implement a comprehensive PTLW program in Avery Middle, Cranberry Middle, and Avery High School. The curriculum focuses on engineering, design, robotics, and biomedical science.

The BUILD program will help Avery County Schools accomplish our Strategic Priority 1:  Instructional Excellence Focused on Thinking and Problem Solving will be Evident in All Classrooms.

“We greatly appreciate the generosity and vision of the Golden LEAF Foundation whose mission is to promote the social welfare of North Carolina’s citizens and to receive and distribute funds for economic impact assistance to economically affected or tobacco-dependent regions of North Carolina”, said Dr. David Burleson, Superintendent of Avery County Schools.

About Golden LEAF

The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to help transform North Carolina’s economy. Until 2013, the foundation received one-half of North Carolina’s funds from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers and places special emphasis on assisting tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and/or rural communities across the state. The Golden LEAF Foundation works in partnership with governmental entities, educational institutions, economic development organizations and nonprofits to achieve its mission. The foundation has awarded 1,334 grants worth over $588 million since its inception. To learn more about applying for a grant, visit www.goldenleaf.org or call 888.684.8404.