As part of an annual tradition, Chevron surprised students at a Richmond elementary school on Wednesday with brand new classroom materials that were requested online by teachers through the company’s Fuel Your School program.
But this year, the visit to Verde Elementary came with an even larger surprise: A $25,000 check to purchase FOSS kits, which include materials that will expand the North Richmond school’s ability to offer STEM education programs (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to all of its students at any time.
The contributions were part of the company’s ongoing local investment in STEM education, which teaches the necessary skills for careers of the future – including jobs at the technologically-evolving Richmond Refinery. More importantly, it was a call to all public school teachers in Contra Costa and Alameda counties to take advantage of the Fuel Your School program.
The 8-year-old program encourages teachers to log on to www.DonorsChoose.org to apply for grants they need to carry out classroom projects, including those with a STEM focus. A first this year, the program is also accepting eligible requests for student-led projects and what is called “Student Life Essentials” projects, which can include providing warm clothing, personal hygiene products and food for underserved students.
The ultimate goal is to equip underserved schools with modern tools of education, and to prevent hard-working teachers from having to dig into their own pockets to ensure their students have what they need, said Dale Walsh, president of Chevron Americas Products.
“These are the future leaders of our community,” Walsh said. “What better way to influence them positively than what we’re doing here.”
To fund the teacher requests, Chevron donates $1 every time consumers purchase eight or more gallons of fuel at participating Chevron and Texaco gas stations throughout the month of October. Since 2010, the program has funded nearly 40,000 classroom projects at over 5,100 schools nationwide.
During Wednesday’s visit to Verde, Ms. Micheletti, who teaches Pre-K through 2nd grades, received exactly what she applied for via DonorsChoose.org: a FOSS kit, which includes materials from a research-based science curriculum.
And the donation of $25,000-worth of additional FOSS kits further amplifies the school and district’s STEM education resources. For the last three years, WCCUSD has operated STEM resource centers via an earlier Chevron grant. The program currently has 88 FOSS kits that are shared among over 30 elementary schools.
Chevron’s $25,000 contribution to amplify STEM education at the school on Wednesday means Verde will no longer have to borrow FOSS kits.
“It means that this school has their own kits, every teacher will be able to teach the science from the kits,” said Ann Roberts, elementary science coach for WCCUSD. “As we spread the word more and get more excitement around it, I’m hoping more and more schools will have their own kits to spend more time on science in schools.”