University receives $170,000 grant to promote science in local schools

The Sid W. Richardson Foundation awarded a $170,000 grant to the College of Education and College of Science and Engineering to help provide summer workshops for elementary and high school teachers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and get students excited about math and science, a university official said.

Janet Kelly , associate professor for curriculum and instruction in science education, said fewer high school students are looking to math and science as fields of study in college.

“The goal of the program is to promote and encourage student interest in physics, mathematics and engineering,” Kelly said. Other goals of the grant include implementing opportunities to obtain new teaching certification in Texas for grades 8-12 and giving graduate students of the College of Education experience working on curriculum for elementary and high school math and science classes, Kelly said.

Valleau Wilkie Jr., executive vice president of the Sid W. Richardson Foundation, said he believes in supporting education.

“Teachers are the most important people in my world,” Wilkie said. “Right now we are focused particularly on high school teachers.”

The Sid W. Richardson Foundation has been a source of funding for universities and non-profit organizations working toward greater efforts in education for 20 years, Wilkie said.

Last summer, the foundation conducted workshops for teachers and students from schools in Coppell, the Fort Worth Independent School District and some private schools in the area, Kelly said.

“The workshops serve to better prepare math and science teachers. Our hope is that teachers will apply what they learned in the workshop activities in their own classes,” Kelly said. Wilkie said he is very pleased with the results after only one year.

“I would like to see the efforts made in education become a university-wide objective,” Wilkie said.