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I was poking around the briefing agenda for this week's meeting of the board of trustees and noticed this intriguing item: NASA -- yes, that NASA, not this NASA -- is giving the DISD, via the Foundation for Community Empowerment, $1.45 million to help students with science and math ... and to promote NASA. Per the briefing docs, half the money will go toward a "science-focused website and a computer lab in the designated area of identified Dallas ISD schools and Dallas Pre-K locations," while FCE will take the other half to "fund a mathematics iniative to complement the district's science initiative."
As there's been no announcement of the grant, I called district spokesman Jon Dahlander to find out which schools have been selected to take part; he could only give the number -- 51 elementary schools, 25 junior highs, 17 high schools -- as most of them haven't yet been informed they've been chosen to participate. The board won't vote on accepting the grant till later in the month. But, says Dahlander, the grant will "help out those schools that need the most assistance in math and science. We're very excited about it. How can you not be? This is NASA. This isn't Big Bob's Science Shack." (That's a side business I run; totally beside the point.)
Surely there's at least one Friend of Unfair Park better acquainted with the Dallas Achieves Math, Science and Technology Initiative than I; this is also a big part of that. (Makes sense: FCE president and CEO Marcia Page is a former Dallas Achieve-er and TI exec.) There's also another component, per the executive summary: promoting "a greater awareness of NASA's missions and accomplishments." Me, I'll just show my DISD first-grader The Right Stuff. Again.