Donation will help support STEM-related programs
STEVENS POINT, Wis. (October 19, 2023) – The Sentry Insurance Foundation has awarded $1.7 million in grants as part of its Stevens Point Schools Technology Innovation Initiative for 2023-2025.
Four school systems received funding to advance student learning in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEM/STEAM) through innovative technologies.
- Stevens Point Area School District: STEM Into the Future; this project will provide elementary students with equitable access to high-quality STEM learning experiences—serving as a bridge to the junior high and high school course offerings in Career and Technical Education (CTE).
- Pacelli Catholic Schools: Elementary and middle school SMART Lab STEAM Centers; these labs will offer students a variety of technology—some of which includes computers, 3D printers, and robotics kits—essential for tackling Project-Based Learning (PBL) challenges. The program will equip students with lifelong skills vital for success both in and out of school.
- Stevens Point Christian Academy: K–12 STEAM education; this initiative will introduce computer programming concepts and enhance educational experiences through a STEAM curriculum with LEGO education kits, upgraded science lab equipment, and 3D printers.
- St. Paul Lutheran School: STEM gamified classrooms; gamification will transform classrooms and curriculums with technology designed specifically for education—allowing students to enhance their skills as creative problem solvers and integrate real-world experiences into their learning.
Since 2009, the Sentry Insurance Foundation has donated $16.7 million to boost technology in public and private school districts in Stevens Point. This effort is intended to help K–12 schools be best-in-class in their educational support of students—while ensuring students have the tools for success in K–12, post-secondary education, the workforce, and in adulthood.
“The Sentry Foundation is pleased with the progress the schools have made over the past 15 years,” said Kalynn Pempek, Executive Director of the Sentry Insurance Foundation. “We feel strongly that technology innovation will not only enable students to prepare for the future but also empower them to actively participate in shaping it.”
"This initiative will have a tremendous impact on our elementary students. By introducing interdisciplinary, project-based STEM lessons beginning at an early age, we expect to see gains in students' problem-solving abilities, collaboration skills, and engagement with STEM subjects. We know these competencies lead to success both in and out of school. With Sentry's support, our goal is for all students to develop confidence when tackling hands-on, real-world challenges. We want them to leave our district excited about the possibilities in science and technology careers. This grant helps make that aspiration a reality." - Cory Hirsbrunner, Superintendent, Stevens Point Area School District
“The Technology Innovation Initiative allowed us to look for new ways to be innovative in our teaching and learning environments. The funding we received for this initiative will help us transform spaces at our middle and elementary schools into STEAM labs equipped with computers, coding and robotics kits, circuitry, 3D printers, and more. These spaces will become innovative learning hubs for our students.” - Jeff Bushman, Director of Technology and Innovation, Pacelli Catholic Schools
“We are grateful for the Sentry Stevens Point Schools Technology Innovation Initiative grant. The funds will help Stevens Point Christian Academy bring our STEAM education program to a whole new level. We are excited for our students to experience technology in new and innovative ways as they find joy in learning through lessons that are intuitive, inclusive, and adaptable.” - Heidi Uitenbroek, Principal, Stevens Point Christian Academy
“Over the years, we’ve come a long way with technology, and we truly appreciate the blessing that the Sentry Foundation has been in helping us reach this point. With our next innovation project, we aim to integrate collaboration and technology into our STEM curriculum. This will change the way we approach some projects within our classrooms, as well as move toward a gamified classroom atmosphere in the math, science, and technology areas. We believe this experience will allow students to be more creative problem solvers and incorporate real-life experiences and examples into their studies to prepare them to be successful in the workplace.” - Sue Lilienthal, Teacher and Technology Director, St. Paul Lutheran School
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