ARRL Education and Technology Program Offers Grants to Four Schools
The ARRL Education and Technology Program (ETP) has offered grants worth approximately $4400 to four schools. The ETP makes possible and promotes the integration of wireless technology education into the curricula of participating schools.
Receiving ETP School Station Grants are Ernest S. McBride, Sr High School in Long Beach, California, which just opened last fall, and North Mac Middle School in Girard, Illinois. Each will receive ham radio equipment to establish or to augment an Amateur Radio station at the school. Schools considered for ETP Grants must choose equipment that is appropriately configured for their school environment and educational plan.
The McBride School already has received a significant donation of equipment from the local ham community and only needed supplementary equipment to meet its goals. The plan for the program is to license and train students to provide service to the community at marathons, to assist with disaster drills conducted at a local hospital and to train for emergency preparedness. Students will practice and develop skills learned before school at weekly training meetings with the demonstration amateur radio base station and at local Field Day events and other community service opportunities using the radio team's mobile radio station.
The middle school teacher at North Mac who applied for that grant had attended a Teachers Institute at ARRL Headquarters last summer. She has started a communications technology club with a temporary Amateur Radio station and interest from more than 60 students.
Club members have planned projects such as geocaching, fox hunting, robot programming, electronics, a possible ISS contact, and more. The local amateur club has already committed to providing Technician class license manuals to any student interested in obtaining an Amateur Radio ticket.
Receiving Progress Grants are two schools already participating in the ETP. They are Forest Knolls Elementary School in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Olde Town Middle School in Ridgeland, Mississippi. Progress grants are aimed at providing curriculum development support, resource libraries, and funding for correcting contingencies that present a deterrent to a school’s program.
Forest Knolls requested an HF antenna to support expanded program operations, as well as a Heil headset and cable adapter. The applying teacher at Olde Town is building a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) program that involves using ham radio and remote-sensing technology for environmental studies. Mississippi is looking at the program as a possible model for the rest of the state.
ARRL ETP Director Mark Spencer, WA8SME, said the current — and expanding — count of ETP schools/teachers stands at 637. To be counted, ETP schools or teachers must have received some level of support from the program of monetary value, such as participation in an ARRL ETP Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology, activity board kits, or equipment grants.
The ARRL Executive Committee approved the latest round of ETP grants in December, and the schools were notified just before the holidays. Starting with the new year, the ARRL Education & Technology Program will offer one grant application cycle each year instead of two. The next deadline to apply for the 2014-2015 school year is November 1, 2014.