Campus & Community

PBSC spearheads STEAM initiative for kids

Children at the Village Academy pose with Sesame Street’s Elmo along with PNC and PBSC representatives. Elmo and the kids sang songs and played interactive games to conclude the ceremony.

The Palm Beach State College Foundation received $200,000 of a $420,000 PNC Foundation Grow Up Great STEAM grant today during a ceremony at the Village Academy Elementary School in Delray Beach.

The gift will be used over the next two years to create a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math initiative through the College’s Institute of Excellence in Early Care and Education.

The grant also includes the School District of Palm Beach County, the School District of Broward County, the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium and the Young at Art Children’s Museum as supporting partners. Each of their respective educational foundations received a portion of the remaining $220,000.

The organizations will work together to enhance access to arts and science resources for hundreds of pre-K students, their families and early childhood educators in communities throughout Broward and Palm Beach counties.

“Palm Beach State College is grateful for the support of PNC through its Grow Up Great initiative,” said Ava L. Parker J.D., president of Palm Beach State College. “This funding will not only help our Institute of Excellence in Early Care and Education to serve as a leader in supporting early childhood education, it will also provide children throughout Palm Beach and Broward counties new and improved learning experiences that will improve their school readiness and open their young minds to careers of the future.”

This marks the first time that both county school districts will work together to regionally make an impact on early childhood STEAM education. Each county held kickoff events to start the initiative. The Broward kickoff event was held yesterday at Lauderdale Manors Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale.

“In today’s growing global economy, students will need to excel in math, science and the arts to compete internationally as engineers, scientists, physicians, and creative entrepreneurs,” said Cressman Bronson, regional president of PNC Bank, speaking on behalf of the PNC Foundation. “Research shows that the U.S. placed 27th out of 34 countries in math performance and 20th in science performance. Our support of science and arts education for area preschoolers will not only help them succeed in school but will broaden their opportunities for social and economic mobility, which will ultimately help build a solid foundation for the future of this region.”

Highlights of the grant:
The activities planned by the grant recipients include:

  • Design and develop new STEAM exhibits for use at two new STEAM Fairs at the school district sites.
  • Several field trips to museums and other learning organizations.
  • Training for VPK teachers through technical resources and online training webinars.
  • Develop and teach STEAM courses and work directly with coaches to help preschoolers improve thinking skills and better understand science.

The Institute of Excellence in Early Care and Education at Palm Beach State is funded through the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County (CSC) to manage the professional development system for the early child care provider. CSC, a special district created by Palm Beach County voters, provides leadership, funding and research on behalf of the county’s children so they grow up healthy, safe and strong.

For more information, visit or follow @PNCGrowUpGreat on Twitter.

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