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Science grant will fund new learning

CHAMPAIGN -- After being forced to cut millions from schools, district leaders for Unit 4 have some good news on the horizon.
CHAMPAIGN -- After being forced to cut millions from schools, district leaders for Unit 4 have some good news on the horizon. A new grant will put thousands of dollars back into education. WCIA-3's Megan Brilley keeps us Connected to the Classroom.

The science grant of $320,000 will pair teachers with UI professors and scientists to create a whole new way of learning for students.

"I don't know if I can speak to how grateful I am for this."

Nikelle Miller has been teaching 18-years.

"Science is part of everything. It's life. Everything we do as humans, in our own bodies, everything we interact with."

Miller incorporates it into her classroom using science kits day-to-day. But, this grant will help teachers push beyond the books.

"This, for us, was like, 'Wow.' It's something we really need to shoot for, so we did."

Kristin Camp did most of the work to get the $320,000 grant from the Illinois State Board of Education. It will fund workshops for 22 teachers to partner with UI researchers and engineers. They'll go through workshops and learn new technologically-advanced ways of teaching.

"It's a way to prepare kids for this world. We haven't had new science standards for 20-years."

It's put teachers like Miller in a much different mood. Then, just weeks ago, that's when the district got the news; $400 million would be cut from the classroom budget.

"To not have the means to educate our students, not just for a current unit of study, but themselves as citizens in the future. That's huge to think about."

These two know it's not going to make up for the millions cut, but they hope this grant will be a shoulder to lean on to further the future of students' educations.

"I know there's a number attached to this grant. But, it's more than the financial amount. It's how it's going to impact my students in the long run."

The workshop begins in July with follow-up meetings throughout the year. Teachers will be able to share ideas and talk about what's working.
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