STEM Business Helps Schools Branch Out
Schools looking to add new equipment to their science, technology, engineering and math (or STEM) programs often hit a financial wall. One Staples company is looking to expand into this business while providing new opportunities for students.
The idea started with Mary Klamm, then superintendent of Menahga Schools, who saw how North Dakota schools took STEM equipment and rotated it around the schools. She brought this to the National Joint Power Alliance in Staples for its annual Innovation Funding.
Now, Alicia Green leads the charge for Technology Mobile, a high tech library of sorts where schools pay to be a part of the program and then able to check out the high tech equipment when need be. A small price to pay when a laser printer costs $20,000.
Since starting in 2015, the amount of schools jumping on board has grown from 3 to 8, and next year there will be 15 taking out equipment like laser and 3D printers, robotic Legos and more.
Not all of the equipment is able to be easily moved about. Central Lakes College is one of the funders for the endeavor, and allows outside students to come in and use their UV printer.
Students at the high school level have been able to create glass etching, printed photos with gloss, and a rattle toy. Like anything new, it’s been a work in progress.
But having the opportunity to make those mistakes has made students hungry for more. And the teachers couldn’t be happier.
This year the National Joint Powers Alliance will rank and select its innovative funding awarded projects on June 1st, at its campus in Staples.