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University industry council awards $200K in pre-engineering grants to Oregon schools


Bruce Schafer, Director, OUS Industry Affairs; Office: 503-725-2915; Cell: 503-332-4666
Jo Oshiro, Program Coordinator, OUS; Office: 503-725-2910

Grants were awarded to innovative engineering "athletics" programs and curriculum training for teachers

Portland, February 25, 2010: The Oregon University System (OUS) and the Engineering and Technology Industry Council (ETIC) are pleased to announce the awarding of $203,774 in grants to  Oregon middle and high schools across the state for the implementation of pre-engineering curricula and activities for students. The available grants will help high schools get started in developing an extracurricular engineering “athletics” program through eCHAMP, and support funding and teacher training for middle and high schools to start implementing the nationally-successful pre-engineering curricula of Project Lead the Way (PLTW). The grants will allow the 21 schools awarded to expand pre-engineering programming to many more students across the state.

The funding is one component of ETIC’s goal to increase pre-college engineering programs and engineering degrees in order to meet state and industry needs for a highly-skilled, globally competitive workforce in Oregon. 
Bruce Schafer, executive director of ETIC, says, “Pre-engineering programming not only helps students understand the importance of math and science, but also inspires students to pursue rewarding careers in engineering and computer science. Oregon and Oregon’s industries need their talent.”

Project Lead the Way curriculum training grants

Eleven Oregon schools across the state—from Nestucca to North Powder-- received grants to start Project Lead the Way, a nationally recognized pre-engineering curriculum program offered in many high schools and middle schools across the country. Students learn about engineering and technology in an academically rigorous way at the same time they learn the connections between engineering and traditional math and sciences courses. The ETIC grants underwrite some of the start-up costs of the PLTW program, including support for teacher training through Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT), classroom equipment, supplies, and software for the first year. OIT offers a rigorous two-week institute each summer that allows teachers to learn how to teach a particular PLTW course at the same time they gain hands-on experience with the technology associated with the course. These summer workshops plus ongoing support from the national PLTW program help assure that teachers will be successful in teaching PLTW courses.

The ETIC grant program expands this exciting curriculum to more students and schools of diverse backgrounds across the state in order to help to prepare Oregon’s next generation of innovators and engineers. Four high schools received $7,200 grants for the Introduction to Engineering Design high school coursework, and seven Oregon middle schools received $17,200 grants for the Gateway to Technology middle school units of the PLTW curriculum.

David Larson of the STEM Center at Patton Middle School, recipient of a $17,200 grant for the Gateway to Technology program, said, “The grant, and the project it will support, is especially critical to McMinnville School District because the majority of our students are economically disadvantaged, and it is essential that we prepare them for postsecondary education and living wage careers, ensuring academic success for every student by every means possible. My students are experiencing opportunities they've never had before and discovering that there are ways to apply their math and science classes. I hear students say, ‘this is the best class in school.’ ”

eCHAMP engineering grants

More Oregon high schools will offer students the opportunity to learn about the “sport” of engineering through the innovative program, eCHAMP – Engineering CoacHing And Mentoring Program. eCHAMP uses a model analogous to high school athletics. Teachers receive stipends in return for serving as coaches of engineering teams. These engineering teams attend a regional or statewide competition to share their results and compete for awards, and benefit from the learning, inspiration, teamwork, scholarships, and rewards that competitive activities provide.  

The eCHAMP coaching initiative was successfully piloted during the 2008-2009 school year at five Oregon school districts and leaders are excited to expand the program to more districts. The grants pay half the stipend cost for teachers to serve as engineering coaches as well as costs for first-year materials and equipment to start new programs. There are numerous team programs already in place for schools to adopt, including FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Tech Challenge, FIRST Robotics Competition, Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams, Oregon Game Project Challenge, and Design for the other 90%.

Anne Evans, Talented/Gifted Education Coordinator/WEIE Grant Director from the North Wasco County School District, recipient of a $5,287 eCHAMP grant, says “This grant is a very important step in placing our robotics team students on the same platform as our other varsity athletes, changing perceptions about what a team sport can look like, and most importantly, retaining our robotics coach who makes it all happen.”

The Engineering and Technology Industry Council (ETIC) is a public-private partnership that was launched by the Oregon Legislature in 1997. For more information on ETIC, go to: www.oregonetic.org  

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Type of grant

School and district


eCHAMP engineering team coaching program 

Century High School, Hillsboro School District


Cottage Grove High School, South Lane School District


Dallas High School, Dallas School District


Hillsboro High School, Hillsboro School District


Jesuit High School (private)


Liberty High School, Hillsboro School District


Newberg High School, Newberg School District


Philomath High School, Philomath School District


St Helens High School, St Helens School District


The Dalles-Wahtonka High School, N. Wasco School District


Project Lead the Way, high school Intro to Engineering Design  Program

Crow High School, Crow-Applegate-Lorane School District


Nestucca Valley Senior High, Nestucca Valley School District


Vernonia High School, Vernonia School District


Winema High School, Chemeketa Community College


Project Lead the Way, middle school Gateway to Technology Program

Brown Middle School, Hillsboro School District


Cedar Ridge Middle School, Oregon Trail School District


LaCreole Middle School, Dallas School District


North Powder Charter School, North Powder School District


Obsidian Middle School, Redmond School District


Patton Middle School, McMinnville School District


The Dalles Middle School, N. Wasco School district


Oregon University System (OUS) comprises seven distinguished public universities, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services, and lifelong learning. The Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the statutory governing board of OUS, is composed of twelve members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu.

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