On Thursday, May 30, Southland Casino Racing presented the Delta STEM Education Center at Arkansas State University with a check for $5,220 to support a coding professional development for ten teachers on June 6, 2019. The professional development is designed for ten teachers grades 5-9 from Marion, West Memphis, and Earle Schools Districts. This donation includes everything ten teachers would need to immediately implement the materials and curriculum into the classroom without purchasing extra material.
“A-State Delta STEM is very grateful for the gift received from Southland Casino Racing. This gift will allow Delta STEM to purchase materials for schools. These materials will help schools implement computer science into the everyday classroom.” said Allen Hays, Director A-State Delta STEM Center.
Digital technologies are used everywhere. Items such as smartphones, automobiles, elevators, and computers are things that most people know were programmed by someone with computer coding skills. However, many people are unaware that items such as refrigerators, washing machines and even your hot water tank, utilize microprocessing systems that require programming code. All of these systems have to be engineered, built and repaired.
Coding, engineering, construction and repair are all important fields within STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math). STEM has not been a major focus in education until the last few years. There has been a recent awakening in education due to the lack of skilled people to enter the fields that require STEM knowledge. Therefore, there has been a major push to introduce students to coding and STEM sooner rather than later. Many schools are currently introducing students to STEM and coding as early as kindergarten so they can start developing their interests in STEM related areas such as computer sciences, robotics, and engineering. The Arkansas Department of Education has taken a stance to address this demand and has started implementing standards that reflect STEM in the classrooms. Through this transition of curriculum, the Delta area has struggled in finding funding and teacher training that would allow their students to be competitive in the workforce. Southland Casino is helping to close this gap by supporting the Delta STEM Education Center in supplying the training and materials needed to Crittenden County schools.
“We look forward to partnering with Southland to help public school students with computer science.” noted Dr. Mary Jane Bradley, Dean College of Education and Behavioral Science.
And, Dr. Lance Bryant, Associate Dean College of Education and Behavioral Science, said, “The A-State College of Education and Behavioral Science and the Delta STEM is appreciative of this recent gift from Southland Casino that will provide and enhance further science opportunities for students that may not have otherwise been available.”