The Grand Forks school district has received $230,000 from the U.S. Department of Defense for three, one-week summer camps, or STEMKamp experiences, for military-connected students entering grades 3-8, to be held in 2021 through 2023.

Grand Forks school system is partnering with Goshen Education Consulting, of Chicago, on the grant, which is aimed at stimulating students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers.

Each summer, the project, part of the DoD’s National Defense Education program, will benefit 125 students who are related to active or retired military personnel or contractors who are working on Grand Forks Air Force Base. The students need not reside on base to be eligible.

The Grand Forks school district has never received funding of this type, according to Taunya Schleicher, grant-writer for the school district. Grand Forks is one of 10 school districts selected by Goshen Education Consulting to be included in the STEMKamp project.

“This is the first time this particular program has been put into place in our area,” she said.

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Earlier, Goshen Education Consulting included Grand Forks Public Schools in the DoD Education Activity, or DoDEA, grant, which resulted in the district receiving $500,000 to expand STEM education at Nathan Twining Elementary and Middle School at Grand Forks Air Force Base over the next three years. That grant was announced in October.

For the upcoming summer STEMKamps, the Goshen company will provide the school district with laboratory materials, STEM and other equipment, Schleicher said.

The grant funds also will be used to hire staff -- including teachers, paraprofessionals and tutors -- to deliver the curriculum, Schleicher said.

During each summer camp, a day-long field trip to broaden students’ STEM knowledge is planned.

Depending on the severity of the pandemic this summer, the first STEMKamp may be held virtually."

"Our first goal is to do this in person, if possible,” said Schleicher, noting the exact school facility to be used for the camp has not yet been determined.

"(STEMKamp) is a wonderful opportunity to embed STEM (education) for these kids, that learning experience that we haven’t had the opportunity to provide yet,” she said.