by Carolyn Kaberline
Special to The Leaven
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Students and teachers at St. Patrick School here will find new technology in their building when they return this fall, thanks to a Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation grant the school recently received.
“The grant for $75,000 will allow students to gain more career opportunities and experience with practical and relevant opportunities,” said Tim R. Conrad, principal of St. Patrick, “in order to help them navigate choices in secondary and post-secondary settings.
“It will also enhance higher-level thinking skills.”
Conrad said the process for applying for the grant was a lengthy one and began in late January.
“I was familiar with the Kauffman grants through my experience as an administrator in another district,” Conrad said. “We received word that we had received a grant on May 15. I was proud that the plan I submitted was going to have the financial support needed and not utilize parish monies to do so. I was excited for our students.”
The grant will allow the school to implement a brand-new STEM curriculum — one focusing on science, technology, engineering and math — in grades 6 through 8.
“We will also create a STEM lab with the purchase of new computers,” Conrad said. [“We will be able] to add a robotics curriculum and resources; design and development curriculum and resources; and a medical curriculum and resources. The grant also allows us to purchase new Chromebooks.”
While there was no official ceremony, the award received quite a bit of social media acknowledgment.
Some of the reasons noted by the Kauffman Foundation for awarding this grant to St. Patrick included an innovative plan, a reasonable funding request that was amply justified, its career impact and its STEM applications.
This is not the only award received by St. Patrick recently: A successful STEM grant submitted earlier this year resulted in the school receiving a $3,800 grant from the KC STEM Alliance.
With a diverse student body — comprised of 65% Caucasian, 20% Asian and 13% Hispanic students — and with about 50% of students qualifying for free and reduced lunches, the grants are most welcome.
Father Mark Mertes, pastor of St. Patrick Church, noted that the Kauffman grant will “establish our school as a STEM resource for our families; school enrollment will be enhanced for the future as well.”
Father Mertes said the CEF and ACTS Emergency Fund have also been “very generous to the school. We appreciate the archdiocesan support.”
The Kauffman Foundation was established in 1966 with a focus on entrepreneurship and education. Its grant-making and research activities are designed to enhance these areas and support civic development in the Kansas City area.