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Rowan-Salisbury schools improve science education through grant

The Rowan-Salisbury School System received a $10,000 grant from America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. The district will use the money to continue to improve their agri-science program for approximately 700 high school students.

The school began implementing hands-on science curriculum in 2012 when they also received a $10,000 grant from the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program.

With those funds, the district’s four high schools were able to make updates to their greenhouses and purchase irrigation systems to conduct research on cultivation methods for tomatoes.

This year, the school district will use the 2014 grant to focus on other areas of agriculture such as animal and environmental sciences. With the funds, each of the high schools will be installing a weather station to study climate change specific to Rowan County and compare the local data with national trends. The data collected from the weather stations will be archived into a database and available for all state educators to access for use in their classrooms.

“We understand research is a valuable part of the agriculture industry,” said David Overcash, STEM supervisor at Rowan-Salisbury Schools. “We feel that this project will enable our students to investigate subjects that are real and valid for the industry.”

This past spring, local farmers nominated the district for a chance to apply for the grant. School administrators then designed a science-based project for the grant application. Once all of the school district applications were submitted, a panel of math and science teachers reviewed each application and selected finalists. An advisory council, composed of farmer-leaders with an interest in agriculture and education, then selected the winning grant applications from a pool of finalists.

“Agriculture has become one of the most technologically advanced industries, so farmers are very aware of the need for superior math and science education, particularly in their own communities,” said Monsanto Customer Advocacy Lead Linda Arnold. “We are proud to partner with farmers to support the things that are most important to them—schools, youth, and their community.”

Rowan-Salisbury celebrated receiving the grant on Oct. 10, during a South Rowan High School home football game. Nominating farmers, school representatives and local Monsanto representative Ron Jernigan attended the event.

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