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  • January 8, 2020

A Small Community Prepares Their Students For The Big World

Central Cass School District awarded grant to help fund their new STEM program

A mission to prepare their students for the future

After months of planning, and preparation, Central Cass School District embarked on a mission to provide their students with a type of education that would help prepare them for the future global workforce. With help from the BCBSND Caring Foundation, they built a STEM center and created a STEM curriculum that will benefit their students and community for years to come.

STEM, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is an education program that provides students with project-based learning opportunities that help build skills that are invaluable to their future.

"The educational opportunities formed by our STEM center are unlimited," states Morgan Forness, Superintendent of Central Cass School District. "The STEM disciplines are not only vital in preparing students to enter a 21st century workforce, but are also critical foundation skills for success in life. STEM concepts rely heavily on problem solving."

Before Central Cass was awarded the BCBSND Caring Foundation grant, STEM curriculums were only offered at the high school level. After identifying how essential it is to expose this type of education to their elementary and middle school students as well, Central Cass used the grant funds to help expand their STEM program into their elementary and middle school grade levels, too.   

"Making STEM interesting for students at a young age can help them with success later in life," says Forness.

Hands-on learning

With a new STEM center and curriculum, the students of Central Cass are learning from a multitude of different projects. From robotics to learning the basic designs of roads and bridges, the hands-on learning opportunities are endless.

"We've built this beautiful STEM center in the last two years filled with exciting activities that kids can learn from science, technology, engineering and math," says Nikki Wixo, Academic Dean of Central Cass School District. "But the funds from the BCBSND grant brought us is the learning that takes place when you put all this fun stuff into action."  

These STEM activities give Central Cass students an opportunity to build their problem-solving, critical-thinking and communication skills at a young age.

Building the community

Central Cass is excited to build an attractive community with additions like the STEM program. As a member of the Central Cass community, Carrie Hagen knows how important additions like this are to the area.

"I'm an employer in the community and it's important to us to have a vibrant community to attract young families that have a workforce, and prepare our students for the future," says Carrie Hagen, CFO for Bank North and fundraiser for Central Cass. "Without partnerships like BCBSND we wouldn't have been able to have this facility and the curriculum inside of it."

Now that all the steps are put into place, a growing community can continue to set their students up for success later in life.