Skip To Main Content












MES, SJES to Benefit From UGA Grant Funded Google, Tides Foundation

MES, SJES to Benefit From UGA Grant Funded Google, Tides Foundation

The University of Georgia has been awarded a $100,000 grant by Google and the Tides Foundation, and the university has selected the Jackson County School System as the benefit of that grant, which is to strengthen STEM education. JCSS will use the funds at Maysville Elementary and South Jackson Elementary. The grant will begin this fall and will be used to develop computer science skills going toward producing robots and software for classrooms along with providing professional development for educators. 

The program will be implemented into the two Jackson County schools by the faculty and graduate assistants from the University of Georgia's Mary Frances College of Education. 

“At Google, we believe in the power of technology to transform education and create opportunities for all students. We are proud to support this innovative initiative in Jackson County with researchers from the University of Georgia through a $100,000 grant from Google,” said Lilyn Hester, head of external affairs and government relations at Google. “We look forward to seeing the positive impact this project will have on the lives of young learners in rural communities.”

The grant project will build on what has been a 15-year partnership between the College of Education and the Jackson County School System to incorporate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills and curriculum at various grade levels. Prior projects targeted third through fifth graders in the district; now, early learners in kindergarten through second grade will be introduced to these recently embedded skills in the Georgia Standards of Excellence.

“Jackson County Schools is thrilled to extend its partnership with the University of Georgia to further the integration of coding and robotics within science and math,” said Amity Hardegree, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning at Jackson County Schools. “We recognize the broad applicability of computational thinking and engineering skills beyond coding and robotics and the ways in which they support critical thinking and problem-solving across all academic areas. Supporting the work of our early elementary teachers to integrate these skills within science and math is critical to building a foundation for our continued work with the university to build on these areas in our upper grades.”

Providing all students with the opportunity to build computer science skills early in their academic careers could encourage them to continue taking STEM courses throughout their schooling. It also enables teachers to enhance their lessons with STEM concepts as well as incorporate these skills into other content areas, such as English and social studies.

“We are grateful to Google and the Tides Foundation for enabling us to expand our long-standing partnership with Jackson County Schools to enhance STEM education for their youngest learners,” said Denise Spangler, dean of the UGA Mary Frances Early College of Education. “This project provides a wonderful opportunity for teachers to gain experience with new tools and curriculum materials to support young children in developing their skills, knowledge and self-confidence in STEM areas, which will hopefully lead to persistence in these subjects.”