Micah Humphries, the Specialty Hybrids District Sales Manager with Monsanto, was on hand to present the grant to Clay Community Schools at their regular school board session meeting Thursday, Oct. 11.
Kathy Knust, Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction with CCS, first learned about the possibility of receiving the grant when Monsanto contacted her a few months ago and told her more than 50 local farmers had nominated CCS for the grant.
The America's Farmers Grow Rural Education program gives farmers in communities an opportunity to nominate their public school district for a $10,000 or $25,000 merit-based grant. The grant's purpose is to enhance math and science education in the schools.
More than 4,900 Indiana farmers nominated 232 school districts for the grant this year, and 176 grants in 39 states have been distributed, totaling $2.3 million dollars.
Out of all of the public school systems in the surrounding area, Clay Community Schools received the most nominations.
"(The grant) will allow Clay Community Schools to increase student enrollment in the STEM-based high school agriculture sciences courses and FFA programs," Humphries said.
Knust said the grant funding would allow CCS to provide many things at the high school level. The grant will allow for the purchase of classroom sets of iPads and digital curriculum necessary, Grant funding will also be used to provide professional development for math and science teachers in grades 6-12 and to increase their awareness of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) agriculture science. Finally, the grant funding will be used to develop a STEM-based digital curriculum that aligns with career and college Indiana agriculture science pathways.
Knust emphasized the fact that agriculture science is a career path with one of the lowest rates in unemployment, and that there are several agriculture science positions available beyond farming, such as environmental inspection and animal science.
"(Through this grant funding) we will continue to work toward increasing our student's understanding of the multiple career opportunities available in agriculture science," Knust said.
Knust and Humphries both thanked the many local farmers who nominated the school and made the possibility of receiving the grant possible.