Roane County schools receive grants

SPENCER — Roane County students will build robots and create digital art thanks to two grants awarded to the Roane County Board of Education.

For the second consecutive year, Roane County Math Instructional Coach Chad Strimel has been awarded a grant to bring hands-on work with robotics and computer programming to students in the county’s elementary classrooms.

The grant will expand Strimel’s current inventory to include robotics kits from Lego and software that will allow students to program these robots using the various computers already available to them in the classroom, according to a press release.

In the second grant, county Technology Integration Specialist Josh Holley partnered with Walton Elementary/Middle School art teacher Sarah Duncan to develop a digital art program. Students will use digital tablets to draw, manipulate, and produce artwork on laptops provided as part of Roane County’s 1-to-1 device program.

“STEM” — an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics — is used to describe the national, cross-curricular effort to expose students to the many careers available and skills required in the modern, technology-driven workforce, the school system said.

Roane County Superintendent Richard Duncan, the former STEM coordinator for Mingo County Schools, praised the efforts of these and other educators to expand the opportunities presented to students across the county. “These grants will bring exciting, engaging learning experiences to our students while building on our existing technology infrastructure to show our communities just what is possible in our schools,” Duncan said.

The grants, totaling nearly $5,000, are presented with support from the Governor’s STEM Initiative and the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts.