SPARTA, Wisc. (WLAX) — A partnership between the Sparta School District and the Department of Defense resulted in hands-on learning about STEM careers .
The district is the only school district in the state taking part in the STEMKAMP program offered to 10 military-connected schools across the country. It is a first-of-its-kind learning experience made possible by a $2.8 million grant from the DOD.
“The materials, the curriculum, the funding for the training and the people, it’s a really fantastic opportunity,” program director Shannon McWhorter said.
STEMKAMP also focuses on children of active military personnel who can have a tough time in school due to not staying in one place for very long.
“Military kids move every two to three years, and so there’s a lot of gaps in their education, Superintendent Dr. Amy Van Deuren said. “Sometimes they miss out on some of the fun because they’re moving.”
Van Deuren noted that despite how frequently students move in and out of the district, military children bring a unique perspective to Sparta.
“It adds so much richness to our community because we have families coming in that have been all over the country, all over the world,” she said.
Van Deuren said the goal is to evolve STEMKAMP from a grant-funded program into one that is sustained by the district.