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Bulloch Local Spotlight

Local Farmers Help Bulloch Schools Win $25K Grant for STEM

Some of Bulloch County’s finest farmers have helped Bulloch County Schools earn a $25,000 grant.

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The Monsanto Fund offers “America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education” (AFGRE) grant every year to aid in purchasing math and science resources for elementary schools in the area. The grant is based on merit of the application, need by the school system, and support from the community.

The grant was written on the premise of creating programs to aid with problem-solving tasks and projects related to agriculture as well like plant science, rain water run-off, weather, the water cycle, air currents, building simple machines, circuitry, construction and more.

The Bulloch County School system participated in an 8-month nomination, application, and national judging process. The school system was selected after the Statesboro Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce’s Agribusiness Committee partnered with AgSouth Farm Credit to help gain support from Bulloch farmers in the community. A total of 15 farmers helped in the process.

The Bulloch County farmers who assisted with the program include: Will Anderson, Tommy Anderson, John Emery Brannen, and Barbara Rushing  of Register; Kathryn Bowen, Gina Deal, Amanda Klingel, Shelly Phillips, Trey Renfroe, Alan Spence and Chris Thompson of Statesboro; Rawls Neville and Ray Sanders of Brooklet; Melanie Reddick of Portal and Angela Wofford of Jacksonville, GA.

The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program began in 2011. Since 2011, more than $11 million has been awarded to over 700 rural school districts to enhance STEM education. In 2016 AFGRE donated $2.3 million to rural public school districts. For a complete list of winners and to learn more about the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program, visit

About Bulloch County Schools’ STEM Exploratory Labs
Bulloch County Schools debuted its STEM Exploratory Labs this school year after piloting them at Nevils, Mill Creek and Brooklet elementary schools last year. With this concept nearly 5,000 K-5 students cycle through a STEM Exploratory Lab experience at least 45 minutes each week, just like they do art, music, computer and physical education. They are the initial phase in moving all 15 schools toward increased STEM-based instructional practices that will eventually be pervasive throughout the system.
In the labs students have an opportunity to solve real-life problems and collaborate on projects related to science, math, technology and engineering. The labs supplement learning that already occurs in these subjects in the regular classroom setting. The labs increase the opportunity for students to make connections in the following ways:
  • Apply knowledge and skills learned in their academic classes to problem-solving tasks and projects;
  • Collaborate on long and short-term projects with local STEM community partners from Georgia Southern University like the Interdisciplinary STEM Institute, the Center for Sustainability, the Math and Physics Department and other departments, the Wildlife Education Center, Multimedia Development Center, and Fabrication Lab (FAB Lab). Other partners include Ogeechee Technical College’s Natural Resources program, the Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Committee and ag leaders, the local University of Georgia Extension Service, the Georgia Youth Science Technology Center.
  • Improve student familiarity with data collection and how to use data to formulate evidence-based conclusions in order to pursue more advanced, long-term projects with the entities listed above.
All of the school system’s elementary schools now have a dedicated STEM teacher and eight of the schools have a lab up and running. Portal Elementary, for this year, will use a push-in model, where the STEM teacher comes to the students’ classrooms to share these same projects and resources. The school will continue to work toward the full lab concept for the future.
About America’s Farmers
The America’s Farmers campaign highlights the importance of modern U.S. Agriculture through communications and community outreach programs that partner with farmers to impact rural America. To learn more, visit America’s Farmers at
About the Monsanto Fund
The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of Monsanto Company, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work. Visit the Monsanto Fund at

Jessica Szilagyi is a former Statewide Contributor for

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