CHICAGO - The Exelon Foundation today announced a grant of $450,000 to ASPIRA, Inc., of Pennsylvania to expand educational programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at five Philadelphia-area charter schools. The schools, which are operated by ASPIRA, will receive $150,000 per year over three years to fund growth in STEM programs that will reach approximately 4,090 students.
ASPIRA's STEM programs engage students through lessons in robotics and rocketry, as well as other technological challenges. The organization also enhances learning through a partnership with NASA, a district-wide science fair and STEM internships that provide students opportunities to apply their knowledge in the community.
The five schools benefiting from the grant are the Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School, Antonia Pantoja Charter School, ASPIRA Bilingual Cyber Charter School, Olney Charter High School and John B. Stetson Charter School.
"ASPIRA has created an expansive STEM educational program to prepare students for high-demand careers of the future, many of which will be in the competitive fields of math, science and engineering," said Steve Solomon, president of the Exelon Foundation. "We're proud to partner with an organization that is helping students acquire the skills they will need to succeed, while also learning to be leaders in their communities."
The Exelon Foundation grant will help fund additional robotics and rocket kits, new technology, equipment, infrastructure improvements and STEM faculty salaries and benefits. Program activities will be integrated into classroom and after-school programs.
The Exelon Foundation grant builds on ASPIRA's existing partnership with PECO, an electric and natural gas utility subsidiary of Exelon Corporation. PECO will provide employee volunteer support, board service and project management for ASPIRA's STEM programs.
"ASPIRA of Pennsylvania is sincerely grateful for the Exelon Foundation's support of our local schools and PECO's continued partnership to consistently advance STEM education," said Alfredo B. CalderÃ³n, president and chief executive officer of ASPIRA, Inc., of Pennsylvania. "These relationships are vital to the advancement of our community and have a lasting, positive impact on our families and children."
The grant to ASPIRA is part of a larger effort by Exelon Foundation and PECO to support the development of STEM education programs at schools in the region. Earlier this year, the Exelon Foundation and PECO provided a $1 million grant to Widener University for the development of a STEM education program at Widener Partnership Charter School in Chester, PA. PECO also provided a $1 million grant to Drexel University in 2011 for the development of STEM education programs at two West Philadelphia elementary schools.