Bristol-Myers Squibb grant will fund training for Lawrence teachers

Lawrence Township public school teachers will gain some tips about how to teach aspects of STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – to elementary school students, with an assist from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

The pharmaceutical company has awarded a $24,000 grant to the nonprofit Lawrence Township Education Foundation, which will use the money to bring in consultants to help increase the teachers’ knowledge of engineering education standards for elementary school students.

A check for $24,000 was presented to the Lawrence Township Public Schools Board of Education at its July 25 meeting by foundation representatives, to a round of applause and cheering from audience members.

The foundation’s executive director, Karen Fairman, told board members that she and Kristin Burke, the school district’s K-6 supervisor for instruction for math and science, worked “very hard” on the successful grant proposal to Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The grant will pay for consultants from the Center for Innovation and Science Education at the Stevens Institute of Technology to help the teachers understand more about the engineering standards in the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for Science.

“The teachers will have the opportunity to enhance their skills needed to foster student-centered, inquiry-based learning,” said Burke, the supervisor for instruction for math and science for grades K-6.

Amy Davis, president of the foundation’s Board of Trustees, thanked Bristol-Myers Squibb for the grant and for its ongoing support of the nonprofit education foundation.

Johanna Mercier, head of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s U. S. Commercial unit, said the company is committed to investing in STEM education and helping teachers impart those concepts to their students.

“We are proud to support the students and teachers of Lawrence Township and to help foster a passion for engineering, science, technology and math at an early age,” Mercier said.

The foundation approves grant requests from teachers and administrators for special projects and programs, such as a hands-on fossil dig assembly, the installation of new LED lighting in the Lawrence Middle School auditorium, and bringing artists-in-residence to the schools.