DREMC-served schools in Bedford, Franklin counties receive TVA STEM grants

Three schools served by Duck River Electric Membership Corporation, Cascade Middle School (CMS) in Bedford County and Broadview Elementary School (BES) and South Middle School (SMS) in Franklin County have been awarded a combined total of $12,500 in grants to support their respective STEM curriculums.

The STEM grants are made possible by the Tennessee Valley Authority, in partnership with Bicentennial Volunteers, Inc., a TVA retiree organization, to develop science, technology, engineering, and math education projects to help spark student interest in future careers in STEM-related fields.

A record $1.5 million in grants were awarded to educators in schools across the Valley to develop science, technology, engineering, and math education projects across the Tennessee Valley region.

Teachers across TVA’s seven-state region applied for funding of up to $5,000 for projects, and 343 schools received the grants. Schools that are awarded grants must receive their power from a local power company served by TVA, which includes Duck River Electric.

“We congratulate these three schools for receiving the grants to support STEM education and inspire the youth in Bedford and Franklin Counties,” says DREMC Interim President and CEO Troy Crowell.

Amanda Thompson, seventh-grade science teacher at CMS said the monies from the grant were used to purchase a classroom set of handheld digital cameras and tripods as well as water testing kits for measuring the Duck River’s PH levels. Students will record what they’re seeing and learning and report back to a larger audience at their school as part of their focus on the river and its wildlife. They will also work toward a plan to protect the river and create a persuasive way to encourage protecting the river from pollution.

According to Principal Rhonda Stevens, BES has plans to construct The Eagles Nest, an outdoor learning lab that uses the environment as the classroom for developing a wide range of skills, including scientific observation, investigation, and problem-solving. A 3.4-acre site behind the school will support the outdoor classroom plus four interactive STEM stations to include learning opportunities related to habitats, weather, plants and nature.

SMS has begun exploring aquaponics in the classroom and plans to expand its studies for students in grades 6 through 8 to demonstrate the symbiotic relationship between fish and plants while students also learn about the principles of nutrient cycling, water quality management and sustainable food production. Chelsea Hall, SMS science teacher, describes that through hands-on activities, students will engage in the concepts of sustainable agriculture, biology, ecology and environmental science with the classroom aquaponics projects.

“We look forward to seeing how the schools apply the STEM project funding to encourage innovation and out-of-the-box thinking as your students learn new skills that can be applied to their current and future success,” added Crowell.

“TVA is committed to supporting schools and educators who are inspiring an interest in STEM education in students across the Valley, as we know our young people will design and build the energy systems of the future,” said Jeannette Mills, TVA executive vice president and chief external relations officer. “Providing resources and access to STEM education is key to inspiring innovation and we’re proud to contribute to the next generation’s visionaries.”

Since 2018, TVA and BVI have awarded nearly $6 million in STEM grants to support local education.

A full list of grant recipients, and information on how to apply for a future STEM grant can be found here.

Cascade Middle School

Cascade Middle School was awarded a $2,500 grant to assist with funding its STEM program. CMS’s 7th grade science enrichment students are joined by Principal Susan Huff; DREMC Senior Director of Shelbyville Operations Drew Lane; DREMC Interim President and CEO Troy Crowell; Seventh Grade Science Teacher Amanda Thompson; TVA Customer Relations Manager Chris Templeton; and Bedford County Schools Grants, Online, & Homebound Coordinator Tiffany Swain.

Broadview Elementary School

Pictured above for the $5,000 TVA STEM Grant presentation at Broadview Elementary School are Principal Rhonda Stevens; DREMC Interim President and CEO Troy Crowell; BES 2nd Grade Teacher Lucy Hayes; DREMC Senior Director of Decherd Operations Rob Edde; and TVA Customer Relations Manager Chris Templeton. 

South Middle School

South Middle School was awarded a $5,000 STEM grant to fund its aquaponics studies. Pictured above (standing) with the students are SMS’s STEM Curriculum Teacher Chelsea Hall; DREMC Interim President and CEO Troy Crowell; TVA Customer Relations Manager Chris Templeton; DREMC Senior Director of Decherd Operations Rob Edde; and SMS Principal Dr. Tara Brewer (front row).