John Deere’s School Partnership Program boosts STEM in Quad Cities
Nine schools join the program, four in Quad Cities
MOLINE, IL (KWQC) - John Deere hosted its first Quad Cities Media Day, during which they announced one of their most promising initiatives: the Inspired School Partnership Program.
The program was launched in 2021 to partner with local elementary schools, aiming to boost students’ interest and participation in STEM education and careers. As of this school year, nine schools are actively engaging in the program, with four of them located in the Quad Cities: Ridgewood in East Moline, Eagle Ridge in Silvis, Rock Island Center for Math and Science, and Fillmore in Davenport.
“John Deere wanted to make sure that our students had access to quality stem curriculum just like kids in more affluent communities did,” said Dr. Kristin Humphries, East Moline School District superintendent. “John Deere is helping East Moline School District prepare our students for a world of tomorrow that we don’t know will exist yet but our students are going to be prepared because of the work we’re doing now.”
According to Dr. Humphries, The East Moline School District was one of the most underfunded school districts in the entire state of Illinois. However, thanks to funding from John Deere, the school has introduced its first LEGO League team, ST Math, and Project Lead the Way programs for all students. Moreover, John Deere employees have been actively collaborating with school staff and students, offering STEM activities and support, thus enhancing the school’s educational offerings and outcomes. As a result, the East Moline School District has earned recognition from Project Lead the Way as one of 70 school districts nationwide with high student engagement in STEM education.
“Today’s world becoming more technical, having stem skills, particularly for youth, regardless of career choice is so important, along with problem solving, critical thinking, working on a team, digital literacy,” said Pat Barnes, Global Social Responsibility Lead for Education and Equity at John Deere “that was the genesis for us supporting it, and we connected to our home communities. and part of the reason was we wanted to connect our volunteers, people that actually work in stem related roles to the youth so they get to see somebody like themselves, maybe in some day dream to be that.”
These partnerships are not intended to be one-size-fits-all; instead, they are customized to address the specific requirements of each school and its students. John Deere not only offers financial support but also contributes volunteers. As of this morning, they have collectively recorded a global total of 216,000 volunteer hours.
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