RSP awards $72,000 in Coover Place-Based Education grants

Coover Grant 2015 GO CAPSThe new Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Professional Studies, or GO CAPS, program will help students learn more about potential careers by immersing themselves in the first two “strands” of Engineering and Manufacturing or Medicine and Health Care starting this fall.

This immersive approach will help high school juniors and seniors from 11 area school districts, including Springfield, “test drive” their futures. Now, the program also will connect teachers to the students’ experience through a $25,000 grant awarded by the Rural Schools Partnership and the Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation managed by The Commerce Trust Company.

“GO CAPS is using this grant for teacher externships to allow educators to be immersed in the industry world in a real-life way,” says Julie Leeth, coordinator of the RSP, a program of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. “All of the participating GO CAPS schools except for Springfield are members of the Rural Schools Partnership. It is the goal of the externship to help teachers hone their skills to prepare students for today’s workforce.”

Lindsay Haymes, Manager of Business Assistance for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, who is coordinating the program, says two teachers from each GO CAPS high school will spend three days with a regional business partner to learn about the company, tackle small projects and source student projects for GO CAPS.

“This will take teachers who have spent the bulk of their careers in the classroom, into business settings,” Haymes says. “This externship program takes one of the philosophical cornerstones of GO CAPS – connecting classroom learning to the real world – and offers this same opportunity to teachers across Springfield Public Schools and 10 other regional, rural school districts, whose collective impact on students will far exceed the initial GO CAPS enrollment numbers.”

The GO CAPS grant was one of four Coover Place-Based Education grants totaling $72,000 awarded at the annual Rural Schools Rendezvous, which took place at Reeds Spring High School in April. The goal of place-based education is to strengthen the bond between schools and the communities they serve.

The other grants include:

• $37,100 to Placeworks Art Initiative, which provides quality arts programming to districts that are part of the RSP. Teaching artists work with teachers to design projects that meet curricular goals and developmental needs of students, including field trips to the Springfield Art Museum.

• $7,900 to Marion C. Early School for the 5th grade class to produce a monthly newspaper for students and the community in both print and online versions.

• $2,000 to the Good Samaritan Boys Ranch 4-H Club Community Garden to grow and sell produce and flowers at the Bolivar Farmers Market. The Ranch is part of the Pleasant Hope school district.