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DoD grant will fund rigorous national Stem program

Three Bethel School District high schools are chosen for their military-connected enrollment

Col. Skye Duncan joined representatives from the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) and the Bethel School District to celebrate $727,500 in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Defense. Photo courtesy Bethel School District

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Last week at Graham-Kapowsin High School, leadership from Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) and the Bethel School District announced a new partnership with the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI). The initiative is an evidence-based, rigorous national STEM program which was made possible by a $727,500 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense. The two-year College Readiness Program is being implemented at Bethel, Graham-Kapowsin and Spanaway Lake high schools. Speakers at the event included: Col. Skye Duncan, Garrison Commander, JBLM; Superintendent Tom Seigel, Bethel School District; and Shannon Manion, Manager, Military Families Mission, National Math and Science Initiative. 

"We're honored to be working with the National Math and Science Initiative at all three of our comprehensive high schools," Seigel said. "This is a big investment in our students' futures and we're excited to see the results."

The grant amount was based on the number of students and teachers in the program and other factors. NMSI is a nonprofit with a mission to advance STEM education to all students so that they can reach their highest potential. NMSI is serving more than 250 U.S. schools that have a significant enrollment among military-connected students. 

"We are excited to be working with NMSI. With NMSI we continue to expand and improve upon our work to assure all students are college-ready," said Jennifer Bethman, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools. "Military students often attend a number of schools during their K-12 school career. As a partner with NMSI, we are focusing in providing a high-quality education to the military students during their time in Bethel. NMSI assists in the work to assure all students are prepared for rigorous advanced course work with a focus on STEM courses. NMSI provides Professional Learning for teachers and supports for students when they are taking advanced placement courses. In our work with NMSI we are preparing elementary through high school students to take rigorous STEM courses -- many of those courses being STEM Advanced Placement courses," concluded Bethman. 

The Dallas-based National Math and Science Initiative has served more than 1,300 U.S. high schools to improve student access and achievement in STEM education through teacher training, collaboration with campus leaders and student-focused resources. Schools that participate in the nonprofit's College Readiness Program see immediate and dramatic increases in the number of students taking Advanced Placement exams and earning qualified scores. The nonprofit seeks to give access to high-quality, college-level coursework for all students, particularly those who are underrepresented in STEM programs.

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