SOCSD Expands STEM Learning Opportunities at Four Schools with $120K Grant

Students in Maker Space Lab

The Starkville Oktibbeha School District was awarded $120,000 in grant funding to expand STEM education and enhance programs in science, technology, engineering and math in kindergarten through 8th grade.

SOCSD is one of fifteen Mississippi school districts to be selected through a competive application process by the Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) to receive funding for the K-8 STEM Initiative Enhancement Project Grant.  In Starkville, the grant funds will be divided evenly among four schools, including Armstrong Middle School, Henderson Ward Stewart Elementary, Overstreet Elementary School, and Sudduth Elementary School, with each receiving $30,000. 

The grant will support implementation of STEM activities in classrooms and coursework through building and expanding Makerspaces, collaborative work places designed to encourage creativity, critical thinking, problem solving and communication through hands-on manipulates and technology, while also providing technology upgrades and educator training to implement STEM applications. Priority was given to schools implementing engineering, computer science, robotics, and other project-based STEM activities to expand the current Mississippi College and Career Readiness Standards for math and/or science K-8.

“These grants will help schools increase opportunities for students to explore STEM education in elementary and middle school so they will be better prepared for STEM courses in high school,” said Dr. Nathan Oakley, chief academic officer. “STEM-related professions are growing, and there is an increasing demand for high school and college graduates with expertise in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

To learn more about our schools' efforts to increase STEM learning opportunities, check out this story in The Dispatch at