To further students’ science education, Frankfort Independent Schools are seeking help from the community to match a grant.
The FIS Education Foundation received a gift from Frankfort philanthropist Richard Rosen called the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Grant to support learning in those subject areas. The grant is $100,000 but was given to be matched with community support, Rosen said.
The district hopes to match the grant by March 1, Superintendent Houston Barber said. He added that the grant is an investment in the school district’s students so they can be prepared for the STEM field after graduation.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our kids. We are very thankful for it,” Barber said.
Rosen said that he wanted to look for ways to improve the school district after hearing in an On The Table discussion a year and a half ago that some who work in Frankfort choose to live elsewhere because they believe their kids can get a better quality education. He then looked at ways to improve that perception.
“I hope that the kids will get a better science and engineering and technology education, and they will score higher in those areas, they will get a higher acceptance rate into college, they will pursue careers in college, they will pursue majors in college and the word will spread that Frankfort’s got a heck of a school system,” Rosen said.
Rosen was a chemical engineer, but he said that was an indirect factor in his choosing to support STEM education at FIS. He predicts that jobs in those fields, especially biomedical, biochemistry, health care and the environment, will become among the most important careers for this generation of students.
With the funds, the district plans to upgrade classroom equipment, so when they graduate, students are familiar with modern tools, as well as host and enter academic competitions, create programming, expand robotics studies and bring more opportunities to FIS. Field trips are also on the funding list.
Soon, a group of 30 girls from FIS will attend Newton’s Attic with help from the grant, as a partnership between the school district and Traditional Bank, Looney said. Barber said the funds will be used at Second Street School and Frankfort High School.
FISEF Treasurer Paul Looney said the foundation has a $5,000 promise to match the grant from the Dungan family.
“This is another seed money to hopefully really help the district and the students with science, technology, engineering and math,” Looney said.
The grant is not the first time that Rosen has supported the school district. He previously gave FIS $100,000 to fund teacher scholarships for furthering their educations. Barber said that $10,000 is awarded each year to FIS employees, with each selected teacher receiving up to $2,000. Past recipients have used the funds for getting a master degree, Rank One, national board certification and other certifications.
“I’m very thankful to Mr. Rosen because his interest is to help improve not only our school system but our city and to elevate what’s happening in our city of Frankfort, so I feel like this type of investment shows commitment to that and it shows that he is looking at every single angle, including education and students, to really grow this city in economic ways,” Barber said.