ARRL Executive Committee Approves 21 Education & Technology Program Grants
In December 2008, the ARRL Executive Committee reviewed grant applications for the ARRL's Education & Technology Program (ETP), awarding nearly $22,000 to 21 schools. More than 350 schools across the country have received support from the ETP in the form of grants for equipment, curriculum and resources, as well as teacher in-service training through the Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology. The Executive Committee reviews applications for equipment and resource grants twice each year, in December and May.
ETP grants consist of Amateur Radio equipment, enabling the school to set up a station. Schools may receive activity kits in addition to station equipment. The following schools recently received ETP grants:
Phillip Magruder Middle School, Torrance, California: This grant application proposed an after school program based on three pillars: To instruct students on the basics of radio technology and allow them to practice using the technology to communicate effectively; to allow students to construct a radio station and take licensing classes to be able to use their station, and to use the context of the club (ham radio) to explore careers through related field trips and interaction with hams in the community. The proposal is well thought out and presented and it represents a program that has good potential for success.
Bradshaw Mountain Middle School, Dewey, Arizona: The teacher proposes to integrate Amateur Radio and shortwave radio into the school culture and classroom curriculum to provide opportunities for students of all levels during a combined in-school and after school program. Their goals are to establish a shortwave station allowing students and teachers to listen to transmissions from other areas, including support for Spanish language instruction, expose students to world cultures through radio and news broadcasts from and for other countries; students will put together a ham radio station that will be used to support other content areas of instruction, such as science, and to develop a portable station capable to allow for off school site participation in local ham activities to provide for school outreach. This is another well thought out and presented grant application with broad goals and objectives. This program has a good potential for success.
McDermitt Combined School, McDermitt, Nevada: This program is being sponsored by the local County Emergency Coordinator. The school is in a remote area and serves an at-risk population. The main theme of this program is EmComm and it creates exposure to public service-related career fields that are normally not considered by the students. The program is well supported by the local ham community.
Worthington Public School, Worthington, Minnesota: The lead teacher for this program is a Teachers Institute graduate and is a school resource officer (a police officer assigned to the school district to facilitate law enforcement-school connections). The teacher has developed a program proposal based on a portable ham radio station that he can take with him from school-to-school to support his outreach efforts.
West Elementary School, Zion, Illinois: The lead teacher (administrator) for this program is Nathan McCray, one of the Teachers Institute instructors. Nathan had a well established ETP program at his former school; when he transferred to another school, he left the program in the capable hands of his wife. Nathan is now vice-principal and is starting up an ETP program at his new school. He is requesting only the basic station components to get the program going at the new school.
Bayside High School, Palm Bay, Florida: The lead teacher for this program is a Teachers Institute graduate. He articulates a program proposal that uses ham radio in the engineering curriculum of this magnet school. This will be a good fit and the teacher is well prepared to execute the plan.
Malcolm Bridge Middle School, Bogart, Georgia: The lead teacher for this program is a Teachers Institute graduate. The program presented has a good potential of success.
Samsula Academy, New Smyrna Beach, Florida: This applicant is requesting a basic ham radio station for the school and some curriculum materials to support an after school ham radio class. The local ham radio club is supporting this program in the hopes of repeating the apparent success they have had at another local school.
Horizon Elementary School, Homestead, Florida: This school is running a parallel program with Samsula Academy; they are requesting the same basic ham radio station to support their on-going program.
In order for a school to be considered for a Progress Grant, it must already be an ETP School. If a teacher attends a session of the Teachers Institute, that school is automatically considered an ETP School. The following schools received Progress Grants:
University of Arkansas, Fort Smith, Arkansas: The lead professor is a graduate of the Teachers Institute and a long time ETP school. The professor wants to begin integrating the weather satellite system that was demonstrated during the Teachers Institute and to expand his program to include space in the classroom content.
Westside Elementary School, Searcy, Arkansas: The lead teacher for this program is a recent Teachers Institute graduate. She wants to include the space exploration through robotics unit that was presented during the Teachers Institute into her elementary school curriculum. She has adapted the content to the grade level of her students and has an interesting approach. The approach will use the activity to provide basic instruction of electronics.
Olde Towne Middle School, Ridgeland, Mississippi: The lead teacher is a graduate of the Teachers Institute. The teacher wants to begin integrating the ham radio satellite system that was demonstrated during the Teachers Institute and to expand his program to include space in the classroom content. He is requesting the basic components to make up the satellite ground station.
Ocean Lakes High School, Virginia Beach, Virginia: The lead teacher for this program is a recent Teachers Institute graduate. He wants to include the space exploration unit that was presented during the Teachers Institute into his high school curriculum and is requesting the ancillary parts of the Mars Lander activity. These parts are added to the Boe-Bot robotics instructor's board that he received during the Teachers Institute, including sensors, RF data link and ATV components.
Livingston High School, Livingston, New Jersey: The lead teacher for this program is a recent Teachers Institute graduate. He wants to expand the use of the activity board resources he learned about during the Institute into his regular curriculum.
Petrova Elementary School, Saranac Lake, New York: This applicant is requesting assistance in obtaining licensing resource materials for the school radio club. The resources obtained through this grant will be housed in a club library for multiple users. This request is in support of an existing program that includes a radio station at the school.
East Elementary, Zion, Illinois: The lead teacher is a graduate of the Teachers Institute. The teacher wants to begin integrating the weather satellite system that was demonstrated during the Teachers Institute and to expand her program to include space in the classroom content. Additionally, she is requesting a dual-band handheld radio for use with the FM satellites.
Great Lakes Adventist Academy, Cedar Lake, Michigan: The lead teacher is a graduate of the Teachers Institute. The teacher wants to begin integrating the weather satellite system that was demonstrated during the Teachers Institute and to expand his program to include space in the classroom content.
Sister Lakes Elementary School, Dowagiac, Michigan: The lead teacher is a graduate of the Teachers Institute. The teacher wants to begin integrating the weather satellite system that was demonstrated during the Teachers Institute and to expand his program to include space in the classroom content.
Granite Bay Montessori School, Roseville, California: The lead teacher is a graduate of the Teachers Institute and probably the most proactive of all the graduates to date. He is requesting support to make the school radio station solar powered and expand the content of this program to include alternative energy sources.
Marist School, Atlanta, Georgia: The lead teacher is a graduate of the Teachers Institute. The teacher wants to begin integrating the weather satellite system that was demonstrated during the Teachers Institute and to expand his program to include space in the classroom content.
Nichols Junior High School, Arlington, Texas: The lead teacher is a graduate of the Teachers Institute and a long time ETP school. The teacher wants to begin integrating the use of ham radio satellites into his curriculum as demonstrated during the Institute. He is requesting a basic satellite ground station for working the FM satellites.
Results in Action
ETP participants continue to sing the praises of the ARRL and the Education & Technology Program. Here is what a few of them had to say:
The local paper did a story on the ETP grant we received. I've had many positive comments and offers of help from the community. The Industrial Arts teacher at the middle school said he would like to do something with the BoeBot, such as a competition with other schools. Our principal is going sailing for two weeks near the Panama Canal area at the end of February. He believes one of the sailors may have a ham radio on board. If so, we are going to try and make contacts with him and chart his progress. The fun is just beginning!
I'm moving ahead with the proposal for the new Amateur Radio and Digital Communications class to begin mid-year. This class will also include small kit building -- I feel this is a big part of what ham radio is all about! The principal has been very supportive with my vision for Amateur Radio education in our high school. People at first made fun of the "nerds" who were applying for the Amateur Radio club, but now I have people lined up for next year who want to take the test and do whatever is necessary to get into the club. All around, it has been a great experience for the kids and the ones who want to get in next year.
I know that the ETP program is not intended to emphasize getting one's Amateur Radio license, but all the kids here at the school have gotten behind the concept, and so has the administration. As of this past weekend all of my students who started in the Wireless Technology program here at school last year have now earned at least a Technician license, and all the students coming up are bugging me to let them participate, too!
A goal of the ARRL Education & Technology Program is to improve the quality of education by providing an educationally sound curriculum that employs Amateur Radio to integrate technology, math, science, geography and language arts with core curricula. Amateur Radio and an understanding of radio science are keys to building Wireless Technology Literacy, another important objective.