Shaler Area receives grant to expand STEAM program
Shaler Area School District was one of 23 schools and school districts in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, Mercer, and Westmoreland counties to receive a Catalyst STEAM Grant through the AIU’s Center for Creativity, which will expand the school district’s science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) programming to meet the needs of students with autism and intellectual disabilities with Project EMBRACE.

Shaler Area received $16,500 of the total $365,000 in grants, provided by the Grable Foundation and the Hillman Foundation. The grants were designed to promote equity in STEAM by increasing STEAM opportunities to historically underrepresented communities.

Shaler Area’s successful K-3 STEAM programs, Project ENGIN and Project Caboose, teach the district’s youngest learners how to solve problems using the engineering design process, however students with autism and intellectual disabilities often struggle with fine motor skills, overstimulation, and the ability to sit and focus while working in a team. Project EMBRACE will make STEAM easily accessible to students with special needs and provide practical implementation methods for all teachers. The grant will provide funding for the resources, professional development and materials necessary to reach every student. 

Project EMBRACE will begin by forming a Special Education STEAM Committee of special education teachers, paraprofessionals, and support staff, and led by the Primary STEAM Coordinator. The team will create an adapted STEAM curriculum and scope and sequence that builds off of the core curriculum for students with special needs students. 

The grant money will be will be used to purchase materials that are large enough that students can be assisted by teachers and aides in their creating, designing, and coding. The money also will be used to create STEAM Bins with sturdy materials that can be used in the primary school STEAM rooms or transported to other areas of the school. These materials will be available to be checked out like a library system so that every teacher has access to the books and materials as well as the support of the primary STEAM coordinator.

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1800 Mt. Royal Boulevard     Glenshaw, PA. 15116     P 412-492-1200     F 412-492-1236
1800 Mt. Royal Boulevard Glenshaw, PA. 15116 P 412-492-1200 F 412-492-1236
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