Three Fairfax County public schools will benefit from a five-year $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) to expand programming in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Fort Belvoir Primary School, Fort Belvoir Elementary School, and Whitman Middle School will receive funding to support Project OWL (Outdoors While Learning).
Project OWL was developed to support military-connected students who face unique instructional and social-emotional challenges. The program includes:
• Outdoor learning spaces such as native plants and vegetable gardens.
• Integrated classroom spaces designed to engage students in STEM using an interdisciplinary approach.
• Environmental field trips such as those sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
• Enhanced recess activities that will encourage students to be inclusive while having fun.
• Afterschool and summer STEM enrichment programs.
• Family wellness activities with help and support from the community.
The Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education of the National Science and Technology Council states that it is critical to national security to have students spark interest in critical and fast-growing careers in STEM.
DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages the education programs for eligible dependents of U.S. military personnel and civilian personnel of the Department of Defense. It has congressional authority to provide resources to public schools to support the continuity of education for military-connected students through a competitive grant program.