The Bayer USA Foundation recentlly announced that it has awarded a $135,000 grant to ASSET Inc. (Achieving Student Success through Excellence in Teaching), the science education reform program Bayer helped to create in Southwest Pennsylvania in 1994. Today the program is considered a national model for industry-education-government partnerships.
This latest grant marks Bayer's ongoing commitment to a program that elevates the quality of elementary science education by providing inquiry-centered, hands-on science instruction to 40 school districts, charter and private schools, in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and directly impacting more than 1,800 teachers and 125,000 students annually, helping them to achieve in the subject.
The new grant will be used by ASSET for operations purposes for its Southwest Pennsylvania program, including the school/curriculum support services it provides the districts, such as inquiry-centered curriculum modules; ongoing teacher professional development; and leadership training.
"Science education is of key importance to Bayer. Early on, we at Bayer knew that, if we were to work with the local schools to improve science education, we had to support a program like ASSET that begins with the source—the teachers. After all, how can we expect our students to succeed and achieve in science when their teachers aren't properly trained to teach it, nor do they feel comfortable teaching it?" explained Dr. Attila Molnar, president and CEO, Bayer Corporation. "ASSET works because it gives teachers the training, tools and support they need to be effective in the classroom."
At the same time, Bayer lauded Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell's efforts to bring ASSET’s method of science teaching and learning to schools across the state with his "Science: It's Elementary" (SIE) initiative. Recently, Governor Rendell allocated an additional $15 million for SIE for the third year in a row, bringing the total funding to $38 million since 2006.
With the funding, ASSET is designing and coordinating SIE for the Pennsylvania Department of Education. As a result, ASSET has trained 2,600 elementary school teachers in 120 school districts to use the ASSET curriculum to instruct more than 59,000 students in science. The new $15 million allocation, earmarked for the 2008-2009 school year, will expand the program in the current 120 school districts, as well as additional school districts around the state.
"This has been an exciting time for ASSET. We are deeply grateful to Bayer for its long-standing and unwavering support these many years," said Dr. Reeny Davison, executive director, ASSET Inc. "This grant is especially important now during this time of our unprecedented growth because it allows us to continue providing unparalleled service to our own client-school districts here in the region that are not part of Governor Rendell's 'Science: It's Elementary' initiative. It also enables us to conduct research and development to design new products and services to help teachers continuously improve."