Twin Rivers Paper Gives Grants to Local Elementary Schools

Twin Rivers Paper Gives Grants to Local Elementary Schools

Madawaska Elementary, Fort Kent Elementary, and Dr. Levesque Elementary Schools in the Madawaska, Maine, USA, area this week announced that they are recipients of a new $7,500 grant from Project Lead the Way (PLTW) to implement the organization’s premier career learning curriculum for its students. PLTW is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S.

Through PLTW’s pathways in engineering, computer science, and biomedical science, K-12 students learn problem-solving strategies, critical and creative thinking, and how to communicate and collaborate. Students engage in hands-on learning and explore activities, projects, and problems reflective of real-world scenarios and careers. These three Elementary Schools join more than 9,000 schools across the U.S. in offering PLTW programs to its students.

These new grants were made possible by a generous donation from Twin Rivers Paper headquartered in Madawaska.

"This program focuses on areas that usually get pushed aside in science at this young age. Engineering, biomedical, and coding are incorporated in every course that is taught at every level," said Gina Jandreau, the Science Teacher at Madawaska Elementary School. "Students learn how to work together to ask questions, design models, test them out, and redesign if necessary. It is amazing the amount of content that students learn through the hands-on activities they do. The kits are amazing and content is of high interest."

Fort Kent Elementary School Principal Gary Stevens noted that. "our district will be offering PLTW as a district-wide, two-day learning event in STEM through PLTW modules, which will include keynote presentations from professionals in the field from our own community, two days of hands-on learning through PLTW modules, and then a celebration of learning and sharing of our scientists’ innovative solutions to our community as wrap up for our event. We are excited to be one of the first districts in Maine to participate in PLTW. The opportunity for students to become engaged in the fields of engineering, computer science, and biotechnology at the elementary school level is truly amazing."
 
Lisa Bernier, Principal of Madawaska Elementary School, added that "Project Lead the Way has been a positive experience for the third graders and their teacher at Dr. Levesque Elementary School. We have taken a full workshop day to train other grade level teachers and are moving the program to other classrooms this year. Technical support from the PLTW employees is great. It has been an easy transition into our curriculum. We also appreciate the monetary support." 

Bob Snyder, CEO of Twin Rivers Paper, noted that "workplaces such as ours at Twin Rivers Paper and those across the manufacturing sector require a unique set of skills. Science, technology, engineering, and math are where the jobs are today, and where more and more of the opportunities will be tomorrow. The PLTW curriculum inspires students to seize these opportunities by embracing the subjects, and pursuing the careers, that will be the heart of our economy well into the future. These new grants we’re providing to three elementary schools allow us at Twin Rivers Paper to enhance many young minds and help shape that future right here in our region."

Snyder noted that this is a new model of corporate partnership, whereby Twin Rivers Paper is not simply making a corporate donation. It is fostering the direct engagement of Twin Rivers Paper leaders and associates in each aspect of the initiative. These efforts include direct fundraising to help support the grant, creating unique hands-on learning opportunities via visits to the company’s facility, participating in school-wide events, and the development of a soon-to-be-formed PLTW/Twin Rivers Paper School Partnership Team. That Team will mentor students, liaise with local officials, identify professional development opportunities, and provide supplies for the classroom.

Funds from the grant will be used specifically to start the School’s PLTW Launch Programs. It will cover program expenses such as annual program fees, teacher professional development, and required classroom equipment and materials.

The PLTW Launch curriculum is designed for students in grades K-5. According to PLTW, studies show that students decide as early as elementary school whether they like, and think they are good at, math and science. Recognizing that K-5 students already have the qualities of great makers and innovators, PLTW Launch taps into students’ exploratory nature, engages them in learning that feels like play, and encourages them to keep discovering and embrace failure. Through PLTW Launch, the students will become problem solvers and explore computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. Whether designing a car safety belt or building digital animations based on their own short stories, students engage in critical and creative thinking, build teamwork skills, and develop a passion for and confidence in STEM subjects.

"Project Lead the Way is committed to providing a transformative educational experience that empowers students to prepare for and thrive in an evolving world," said PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram. "We are grateful for the truly unique corporate partnership demonstrated by Twin Rivers Paper. Their approach, which involves not only expanding access to PLTW programs in their local community through monetary support, but also the engagement of company leaders and associates, sends a clear message. They are committed to career learning and to strengthening their community. In so doing, they will help spur the creation of tomorrow’s innovators."

More information on Project Lead the Way is available online, or contact Jennifer Cahill, PLTW senior director of media and public relations. For more information on Twin Rivers Paper, contact Dave Deger.

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