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The Stocker Foundation Makes a Significant Investment in Elyria Schools STEAM Learning

The Stocker Foundation on Wednesday, July 17, 2019, announced its continued investment in Elyria Schools, earmarking $1.35 million over three years to bolster the district’s K-8 STEAM curricula and to further support preschool education. 

In 2014, The Stocker Foundation awarded $1.25 million over five years, which led to the establishment of two preschool classrooms at Franklin Elementary that year. The grant also drove full-school implementations at Franklin, including extended school hours, new technology in the classrooms, enhanced teacher collaboration, art-inspired learning and programs to increase parent engagement. 

Patricia O’Brien, Executive Director of The Stocker Foundation said this new multiyear investment keeps the preschool program in place at Franklin Elementary—the future Hamilton Elementary School—and scales up the district’s kindergarten through eighth grade programming districtwide in Literacy + STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math). 

Elyria Schools Superintendent Ann Schloss said this is yet another example of solid partnering between the school community and a foundation to better the community as a whole, as well as serving to prepare children with real skills for life-long learning. 

“We’re fortunate in the Elyria Schools to have excellent partnerships with our philanthropic, civic and business community,” Schloss said. “The projects we’re spearheading through these partnerships are giving our students an edge as they graduate and move on to college and careers.  We’ve also been able to provide even more training for staff. Elyria Schools is truly on its way to becoming a premier STEAM district locally and throughout the state of Ohio.

 “The Stocker Foundation Board recently adopted a broader 21st century definition of literacy to help students keep pace in today’s rapidly changing world. Our ongoing commitment to Elyria City Schools has and will continue to inspire real change,” O’Brien stated.  The Stocker Foundation places a priority on literacy and STEAM-focused learning in education.  For more information about The Stocker Foundation and its grantmaking consult www.stockerfoundation.org.

The preschool program that began at Franklin in 2014 with funding from The Stocker Foundation was termed New Beginnings. The program earned a Five Star Step Up to Quality rating by the state, the highest possible preschool rating, and maintains that rating today.  

More than 70% of the students participating in the first New Beginnings preschool cohort—and who are still enrolled at Franklin—having maintained gains and met the requirements of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.  After inception of New Beginnings the Franklin staff reported an increase in parent engagement and more siblings enrolling in preschool.

With new funding from The Stocker Foundation designated for K-8 districtwide STEAM learning, Elyria Schools will partner with Project Lead the Way. 

Project Lead the Way is a nonprofit organization that is recognized for implementing a rich curriculum and hands-on learning approach that promotes critical thinking and problem solving while inspiring creativity and collaboration.

The courses will embed seamlessly into the K-8 core curriculum and support programs that are already in place in the Elyria Schools, including robotics, coding, programming, engineering and design. It will also mesh with the materials and training in the Imagineering Hubs and makerspaces found in Elyria’s elementary and middle schools. All students will benefit from taking part in these real world experiences.