Schools in Bedford and Franklin Counties Receive TVA STEM Grants

Three schools served by Duck River Electric Membership Corporation, Cascade Middle School (CMS) in Bedford County and Broadview Elementary School (BES) and South Middle School (SMS) in Franklin County, have been awarded a combined total of $12,500 in grants to support their respective STEM curriculums.

The Tennessee Valley Authority makes the STEM grants possible in partnership with Bicentennial Volunteers, Inc., a TVA retiree organization, to develop science, technology, engineering, and math education projects to help spark student interest in future careers in STEM-related fields.

A record $1.5 million in grants was awarded to educators in schools across the Tennessee Valley region to develop science, technology, engineering, and math education projects.

Teachers across TVA’s seven-state region applied for funding of up to $5,000 for projects, and 343 schools received the grants. Schools awarded grants must receive their power from a local power company served by TVA, which includes Duck River Electric.

“We congratulate these three schools for receiving the grants to support STEM education and inspire the youth in Bedford and Franklin Counties,” says DREMC Interim President and CEO Troy Crowell.

Amanda Thompson, a seventh-grade science teacher at CMS, said the monies from the grant were used to purchase a classroom set of handheld digital cameras and tripods, as well as water testing kits for measuring the Duck River’s PH levels. Students will record what they’re seeing and learning and report back to a larger audience at their school as part of their focus on the river and its wildlife. They will also work toward a plan to protect the river and create a persuasive way to encourage protecting the river from pollution.

Pictured above for the $5,000 TVA STEM Grant presentation at Broadview Elementary School are Principal Rhonda Stevens; DREMC Interim President and CEO Troy Crowell; BES 2nd Grade Teacher Lucy Hayes; DREMC Senior Director of Decherd Operations Rob Edde; and TVA Customer Relations Manager Chris Templeton.

According to Principal Rhonda Stevens, BES plans to construct The Eagles Nest. This outdoor learning lab uses the environment as a classroom to develop a wide range of skills, including scientific observation, investigation, and problem-solving. A 3.4-acre site behind the school will support the outdoor classroom plus four interactive STEM stations, including learning opportunities related to habitats, weather, plants, and nature.

South Middle School was awarded a $5,000 STEM grant to fund its aquaponics studies. Pictured above (standing) with the students are SMS’s STEM Curriculum Teacher, Chelsea Hall; DREMC Interim President and CEO Troy Crowell; TVA Customer Relations Manager Chris Templeton; DREMC Senior Director of Decherd Operations Rob Edde; and SMS Principal Dr. Tara Brewer (front row).

SMS has begun exploring aquaponics in the classroom and plans to expand its studies for students in grades 6 through 8 to demonstrate the symbiotic relationship between fish and plants. At the same time, students also learn about the principles of nutrient cycling, water quality management, and sustainable food production. Chelsea Hall, an SMS science teacher, says that through hands-on activities, students will engage in sustainable agriculture, biology, ecology, and environmental science concepts through classroom aquaponics projects.

“We look forward to seeing how the schools apply the STEM project funding to encourage innovation and out-of-the-box thinking as your students learn new skills that can be applied to their current and future success,” added Crowell.

“TVA is committed to supporting schools and educators who are inspiring an interest in STEM education in students across the Valley, as we know our young people will design and build the energy systems of the future,” said Jeannette Mills, TVA executive vice president, and chief external relations officer. “Providing resources and access to STEM education is key to inspiring innovation, and we’re proud to contribute to the next generation’s visionaries.”

Since 2018, TVA and BVI have awarded nearly $6 million in STEM grants to support local education.

Here is a complete list of grant recipients and information on how to apply for a future STEM grant.

Top Picture: Cascade Middle School was awarded a $2,500 grant to assist with funding its STEM program. Principal Susan Huff joins CMS’s 7th grade science enrichment students; DREMC Senior Director of Shelbyville Operations Drew Lane; DREMC Interim President and CEO Troy Crowell; Seventh Grade Science Teacher Amanda Thompson; TVA Customer Relations Manager Chris Templeton; and Bedford County Schools Grants, Online, & Homebound Coordinator Tiffany Swain.

Lucky Knott

Lucky Knott

One of Southern Tennessee's most experienced and recognized news broadcasters and play-by-play sportscasters. News and Sports Director for Rooster 101.5 FM, 93.9 The Duck and Whiskey Country 105.1, and 95.9. He is currently the play-by-play voice of the Coffee County Red Raiders (31 years) on The Rooster 101.5 and can be heard M-F broadcasting our local news. Lucky has done play-by-play for 3,993 (and counting) sports events on Radio & TV. He also served four years as the Public Information Officer for the Coffee Co. Sheriff's Dept. and taught Radio/TV for six years at Grundy County High School.

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