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Bayer USA Foundation Awards $135,000 Grant to Regional Science Education Program

Submitted by: Bayer

Categories: Philanthropy & Corporate Contributions, Community Development

Posted: Apr 04, 2008 – 09:30 AM EST


Bayer Applauds Governor Rendell for $38 Million Allocation to Expand Program throughout PennsylvaniaFirst-Year Program Assessment is Positive

Apr. 04 /CSRwire/ - PITTSBURGH - April 4, 2008 – The Bayer USA Foundation announced today it has awarded a $135,000 grant to ASSET Inc. (Achieving Student Success through Excellence in Teaching), the exemplary science education reform program Bayer helped to create here in Southwest Pennsylvania in 1994, that today is considered a national model for industry-education-government partnerships.

This latest grant marks Bayer's ongoing commitment to a program that ratchets up the quality of elementary science education by providing inquiry-centered, hands-on science instruction to 40 school districts, charter and private schools, in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and directly impacting more than 1,800 teachers and 125,000 students annually, helping them to achieve in the subject.

The new grant will be used by ASSET for operations purposes for its Southwest Pennsylvania program, including the school/curriculum support services it provides the districts, such as inquiry-centered curriculum modules; ongoing teacher professional development; and leadership training.

"Science education is of key importance to Bayer. Early on, we at Bayer knew that, if we were to work with the local schools to improve science education, we had to support a program like ASSET that begins with the source – the teachers. After all, how can we expect our students to succeed and achieve in science when their teachers aren't properly trained to teach it, nor do they feel comfortable teaching it?" explained Dr. Attila Molnar, President and CEO, Bayer Corporation. "ASSET works because it gives teachers the training, tools and support they need to be effective in the classroom."

At the same time, Bayer lauded Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell's efforts to bring ASSET’s method of science teaching and learning to schools across the state with his "Science: It's Elementary" (SIE) initiative. Recently, Governor Rendell allocated an additional $15 million for SIE for the third year in a row, bringing the total funding to $38 million since 2006.

With the funding, ASSET is designing and coordinating SIE for the Pennsylvania Department of Education. As a result, ASSET has trained 2,600 elementary school teachers in 120 school districts to use the ASSET curriculum to instruct more than 59,000 students in science. The new $15 million allocation, earmarked for the 2008-2009 school year, will expand the program in the current 120 school districts, as well as additional school districts around the state.

"This has been an exciting time for ASSET. We are deeply grateful to Bayer for its long-standing and unwavering support these many years," said Dr. Reeny Davison, Executive Director, ASSET Inc. "This grant is especially important now during this time of our unprecedented growth because it allows us to continue providing unparalleled service to our own client-school districts here in the region that are not part of Governor Rendell's 'Science: It's Elementary' initiative. It also enables us to conduct research and development to design new products and services to help teachers continuously improve."

Governor Rendell Launches Year Three of "Science: It's Elementary"

Launched during the 2006-2007 school year with a $10 million budget allocation to ASSET, SIE is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Education. It was proposed by Governor Rendell as one of several efforts to better prepare Pennsylvania's students for the competitive environment of the emerging global economy. Intensive math and science training is increasingly in demand in many workplaces, the governor noted, and high-skill careers often require employees with strong problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

In SIE's first year, ASSET trained 1,389 elementary school teachers from 74 schools in 68 districts to use its curriculum to instruct 37,000 students in science. The following year (2007-2008), Governor Rendell announced an additional $13 million for SIE, expanding the program to 57 more school districts and 25,800 more students this year. All told, the program is currently reaching roughly 60,000 students in 120 school districts.

At the time of his initial announcement in 2006, Governor Rendell said, "'Science: It's Elementary' brings science to life in the classroom. It allows children to learn by doing—one of the most effective and engaging ways to teach and foster a love of learning. Thousands of elementary school children benefited from this innovative teaching tool last year. Now, thousands more will enjoy this hands-on learning experience.

"'Science: It's Elementary' goes beyond traditional textbook instruction, allowing elementary students to learn by doing," the Governor explained. "Classrooms are provided with science kits enabling children to experiment and see the 'big picture' of how science impacts our lives, studying topics such as weather, water, balance and motion, electricity and rocks and minerals."

This approach allows children to not only observe the practical aspects of science, but also to experiment, interpret, propose solutions and test their own scientific theories.

"Pennsylvania students aren't just competing with peers in other states, they are competing with students around the world," Education Secretary Gerald L. Zahorchak said in July 2007. "It is our responsibility to ensure our children receive a cutting-edge education that will prepare them to succeed in a high-tech workforce."

Year One SIE Results Report is Positive

SIE is being benchmarked each year by Horizon Research, Inc. (HRI), an independent educational evaluation firm based in Chapel Hill, N.C. The first-year assessment report, released recently by HRI, indicates SIE is on track to making science education come alive in Pennsylvania's elementary schools.

For example, in evaluating student performance, HRI's research shows:

  • In four of six comparisons, students receiving instruction using SIE modules by teachers who participated in SIE professional development scored significantly higher than students not receiving instruction from that module—with impressive results from 16 to 44 percent higher.

  • Students of teachers who participated in all three days of SIE professional development scored even higher on the post-test (approximately 5 percent) than those of teachers who participated in only two days of professional development—pointing to a significant and positive relationship between full participation in SIE professional development and student achievement.

    For additional results, please visit www.assetinc.org.

    About the Bayer USA Foundation

    The Bayer USA Foundation is an endowed 501(c)(3) entity and is the primary source of Bayer Corporation’s philanthropy in the United States. With a programmatic focus on the environment and sustainability; education and workforce development; arts and culture; and health and human services, the Foundation creates and supports partnerships that improve communities in which Bayer employees live and work, as well as society at large.

    About Bayer Corporation

    Bayer Corporation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is a subsidiary of Bayer AG, an international health care, nutrition and innovative materials group based in Leverkusen, Germany. In North America, Bayer had 2007 net sales of 8.1 billion euros and employed 16,800 at year end. Bayer's three subgroups, Bayer HealthCare, Bayer CropScience and Bayer MaterialScience, improve people’s lives through a broad range of essential products that help diagnose, prevent and treat diseases; protect crops and enhance yields; and advance automobile safety and durability.

    About ASSET

    ASSET (Achieving Student Success through Excellence in Teaching) Inc. is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to continuously improve teaching and student learning, with an initial focus on K-8 science education. Established in 1994 by Bayer Corporation and several community partners, ASSET also received substantial funding from the National Science Foundation. Today, ASSET has achieved sustainability as a fee-for-service organization with ongoing support from several local and national foundations and corporate partners.

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    Phone: (412) 777-5200

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