Western Washington University has recently received notice of two grants that will help science instruction: a $138,000 grant from M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust for equipment and science student summer stipends, and a $2.9 million National Science Foundation grant for studying the university’s elementary science teacher preparation program.
The NSF grant, one of the largest grants the university has received in awhile, will fund a five-year study of K-6 teachers in the elementary science program and their success as teachers in the classroom.
The M. J. Murdoch Charitable Trust grant is for the university’s Advanced Materials Science and Engineering Center and will help purchase a turntable laser. The grant also allowed the university to offer stipends to eight students on five research teams this summer. The university is matching the grant with $150,000, which will be used to create an interdisciplinary microscopy center.
The press releases from the university are below the jump.
Whatcom Day Academy preschool teachers will soon be helping to improve early childhood literacy education across northwest Washington.
The Whatcom County independent school recently won a $30,000 grant to document specific literacy teaching practices and then share those ideas with early childhood education groups in Whatcom County and other areas of the region.
The grant is from Doing What Works, a website supported by the U.S. Department of Education that helps teachers implement teaching practices that are supported by research.
For the last couple years, Whatcom Day Academy has been partnering with Western Washington University associate professor Matthew Miller to help train new preschool and elementary teachers. Students from Miller’s literacy instruction class spend hours observing Whatcom Day Academy preschool teachers during literacy lessons. The students then report back to the teachers, giving them insight into what they’re doing and what they could be doing more.
The grant will build upon the WWU work, specifically focusing on two areas of literacy education: phonological awareness, which deals with students understanding what sounds different letters make, and dialogic reading, which deals student comprehension and analysis of what’s being read to them.
Whatcom Day Academy teachers will receive training in the two areas of literacy education being studied, and then each will develop lesson plans specifically related to those areas. Each teacher will then create four video case studies of them teaching lessons to students, using the information they learned during the trainings.
The case-study videos, along with feedback from the teachers, will then be used by other early childhood education groups and WWU students to help improve literacy education.
“It’s important to know why you’re doing something; a lot is because it feels right to do and it’s what you’ve always done,” said Miller. “This allows (teachers) to look at really why they’re doing things and how they can connect to best practices.”
“This will really help strengthen early childhood education in the county because literacy is such a critical piece of what happens at that age,” said Susan Donnelly, head of Whatcom Day Academy.
Students in some of Bellingham Technical College’s programs will soon have a chance to learn about anaerobic digesters, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The nearly $300,000 two-year grant, from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, will allow the college to create curriculum and opportunities for students to get an Anaerobic Digester Technician Certificate.
Anaerobic digesters are designed to break-down manure or farm waste and can create a variety of byproducts, including electricity, compost and fertilizer. They are gaining popularity as people look to renewable energy sources; Whatcom County currently has two digesters operating, one of them the oldest in the state.
The new curriculum for the certificate will be embedded into a few of the college’s existing degree programs, including Process and Control Technology, Diesel Technology and Heating, Ventilation, Air Condition and Refrigeration Technology. As part of the new curriculum, students will have a chance to operate, maintain and repair small digesters on campus.
Ferndale-based Andgar Corporation and Washington State University’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources will partner with the college to develop the curriculum and class materials.
Puget Sound Energy is offering grants for bringing renewable energy into schools and other educational groups.
The utility company is accepting grants from schools and nonprofit groups that want to install small-scale solar arrays or wind-powered turbines. The grants will range from $5,000 to $20,000.
During the last seven years, the company has provided almost $400,000 in grants to fund 23 solar-powered educational projects in Western Washington.
Applications are due by March 15. To apply, or for more information, click here.
Bellingham Technical College will be receiving a $200,000 grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to create a new degree program that helps low income people enter the aquatic conservation industry.
The project is a collabo-ration among BTC, North-west Indian College and Western Washington University’s Huxley College.
The grant will allow BTC to expand its current fish-eries degree program as well as create a new transfer degree program.
The transfer program at BTC will be aligned with degree programs at Huxley and the NWIC native environmental science degree program, giving students several options for continu-ing their education or finding a career.
Patricia McKeown, president of BTC, believes the grant will allow the three schools to create a program that embraces their individual strengths.
“You have BTC that has that foundation of hands-on skills where students are exposed to learning the skills to work … Northwest Indian College that has that piece of native environ-mental sciences that’s so unique to them, then you have Western which is really a leader in the whole environmental sciences arena in terms of Huxley college,” McKeown said. “It’s a wonderful thing that the Allen Foundation is supporting this; it came at a perfect time to move this initiative forward.”
The grant is part of the foundation’s asset-building program, which is designed to “support organizations that help people attain financial stability and security,” said Bill Vesne-ski, evaluation director with the foundation.
“One of the appeals with the college is they’re work-ing with these communi-ties, they are working with people who are economically vulnerable,” Vesneski said. “This program is designed to help those (people) in addition to being academically rigorous.”
BTC will start enrolling more students in the cur-rent fisheries program — capacity will be expanded by up to 130 additional students over two years — but the transfer degree curriculum needs to be designed before people can choose that option, McKeown said.
The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation awarded $620,000 to Whatcom County this winter, with grants also going to Lummi Nation Service Organiza-tion and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County. In all, Whatcom County has received $2.1 million from the foundation since it was created in 1990. This is the first grant from the founda-tion to BTC.
Northwest Indian College recently received a $75,500 grant from the Nisqually Indian Tribe to support the college’s Traditional Plants and Foods Program.
The grant, which needed to help promote and maintain the cultural integrity of native tribes, will be used to continue and expand activities available through the program that emphasizes lifestyle changes based on growing and harvesting traditional plants and food.
The program, which is offered through the college’s Cooperative Extension Department, features hands-on community workshops, mentoring, food harvesting and training sessions. More than 2,500 youth and elders are served by the program annually, including people at the Northwest Indian Treatment Center in Elma, Wash.
Bellingham Technical College will receive nearly $1 million over three years to increase the number of people coming through the nursing program. The grant is from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Healthcare Education-to-Career Opportunities program.
To read the story by Zoe Fraley, click here.
From Western Washington University:
Western Washington University has received a two-year, $512,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education to partner with a number of community institutions to review, improve and enhance campus emergency management planning efforts.
The grant was given to enhance emergency preparedness within the Resilient Bellingham Consortium (RBC), a group consisting of the city’s three institutions of higher education – WWU, Bellingham Technical College and Whatcom Community College. Grant principals include WWU’s Environmental Health and Safety office; WWU Associate Professor of Psychology David Sattler; the WWU Psychology Department; Rebekah Green, associate director of the Resilience Institute at WWU’s Huxley College of the Environment; Debra Jones, vice president of Bellingham Technical College; and Ray White, vice president of Whatcom Community College.
Community partners include the City of Bellingham’s Office of Emergency Management, the Whatcom County Division of Emergency Management, the Local Emergency Planning Committee, and the Whatcom County Health Department, among others.
Members of the RBC will use the funding from the federal grant to enhance their current all-hazards emergency plans, paying special attention to the needs of those with disabilities and other groups having special issues; as well as work on topics such as homeland security, infectious disease outbreaks, and campus violence. The grant will support training for university staff and faculty in emergency management procedures and promote coordination of emergency planning and communications across departments within each institution as well as between the institutions of higher education. The effort will build upon current relationships to collaborate even more closely with local government partners and emergency management professionals within the community.
“We’ll use this funding to revitalize mechanisms to plan for disasters that address each campus’s unique challenges,” said Gayle Shipley, WWU director of Environmental Health and Safety and grant project director. “This grant provides a much-needed resource to increase our communities’ resilience. An effective response to, and recovery from, a disaster will help us maintain ongoing access to educational opportunities for our students. And more broadly, it will enhance the wellbeing of our communities beyond our campuses.”
For more information on the Resilient Bellingham Consortium or the Department of education grant, contact Gayle Shipley at (360) 650-6512.
The deadline for 8th graders to sign-up for the College Bound Scholarship program is June 30.
The program, which is coordinated by the Higher Education Coordinating Board, promises to pay college tuition, fees and a $500 book allowance for low-income students who sign-up in middle school and graduate from high school and attend college. If eligible 8th graders don’t sign up this year, they lose their chance to receive help from the program.
Eligible students must be a Washington resident and be part of the Free and Reduced meal program, be a foster youth or be receiving Temporary Assistance For Needy Families benefits.
As part of the sign up process, students promise to graduate from high school, demonstrate good citizenship, and seek admission to an approved two- or four-year college or university, or an approved private career school. Continued financial eligibility and compliance with other conditions of the program will be re-checked prior to awarding College Bound Scholarship money.
The state Legislature created the program in 2007, with more than 55,000 students statewide having applied for the program. The first college students will begin receiving benefits in 2012.
Students and parents who want to sign up should contact their local school counselor or the HECB by phone at 1-888-535-0747, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional program information is available on the HECB website .