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James Madison University

Mission: James Madison University (JMU) is a community committed to preparing students to be educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives.

Community Need: The Professor In Residency (PIR) program under the umbrella of the Office of Access and Inclusion, is a key community engagement initiative and exists in partnership with select Virginia K-12 schools. It strives to level the playing field for the growing number of economically disadvantaged students, particularly those in public schools where more than 50% of students are eligible for free/reduced-price meals. Such students are less likely than their more affluent counterparts to have outside resources and participate in organized activities, contributing to lower test scores, lower on-time graduation rates, and higher dropout rates.  Virginia now has more than 512,000 such students and in Waynesboro alone, that number is greater than 1,500.

Primary Activities: The PIR program is designed to enable the opportunities for attending university of underrepresented and underserved Virginia students.  Schools that participate in the program are paired with JMU faculty who work to develop in-school and after-school programs for students to be exposed to and experience college-preparatory curriculum and activities. In addition to the PIR program, JMU’s Middle School Leadership Academy and Middle School Visit Program bring students to the university campus for short and extended visits, exposing them to campus life and the opportunities available to them at a four-year university in general and at JMU in particular.

Constituents Served: During 204, The PIR program served 15 Virginia schools and their more than 17,000 students. Of these, just over 13,000 were high school students, and the rest were middle school students.  The Center for Wind Energy provided programming to more than 3,200 people, including at least 1,500 K-12 public school students and 150 teachers, as well as community members and university students.

Program Details:  The PIR program and the Center for Wind Energy seek $6,615 to establish a KidWind Challenge team in collaboration with the Waynesboro Public Schools. They will establish and equip the KidWind Challenge team, a premier wind energy learning experience in which 4th to 12th graders discover the promise and limitations of wind energy technology; design, build, and test a creative, functional wind turbine; and compete with their peers in a supportive environment.

Three teachers will be prepared to teach at the REcharge Academy about renewable energy and then to extend that instruction into the KidWind Challenge. Renewable energy is part of the SOL for various grades from K-12, but it is not an emphasis in many classrooms, including those at Waynesboro Public Schools, where poverty is yet another factor driving down SOL scores in every grade, and science scores for all students in are below the state average. To address these issues, the first step is to give teachers the opportunity to learn about renewables and how they work, to get current with the latest technology and related pedagogical strategies. The proposed project will directly serve three teachers and about 200 students at Waynesboro Public Schools

Amount Requested: $6,615

Operating Budget: $569,679,105

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