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Planned Aurora STEM school receives pair of grants

Updated: September 12, 2012 9:54PM

AURORA — Two new donors have announced they’re pitching in to help build the STEM Partnership School at Aurora University.

Nicor Gas and Waste Management of Illinois this month both announced grants for the planned science, technology, engineering and mathematics school that will serve third- through eighth-grade students.

A $50,000 Nicor Gas grant will help establish a “GEARS” laboratory and curriculum focused on geology, energy and resources sustainability. The Partnership School’s students will use the lab to explore topics such as mining, resource extraction and hydroelectric power.

The Waste Management grant, for $10,000, will be used for the school’s construction. This is the second Waste Management grant to the school this year.

“These grants puts us closer to achieving the vision that Aurora University and our partner school districts have been building toward for three years,” said Sherry Eagle, executive director of the Institute for Collaboration at AU.

The Institute for Collaboration has estimated the cost of the new school at about $12 million, of which more than half has already been raised, with major donors including the Dunham Fund and the Exelon Foundation.

The STEM Partnership School on the AU campus will initially serve about 200 students from the East Aurora, West Aurora, Indian Prairie and Oswego school districts and employ district teachers who will simultaneously complete AU graduate coursework in STEM education. The goal is to educate students at the STEM Partnership School, but also to bring improved curriculum to the participating school districts.

The school is expected to open in fall 2014.

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