Academics

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County manages many academic programs throughout Sarasota County Schools, making it an integral partner of our schools, families and community. Your support of the Education Foundation helps us stay connected to the schools and student experience in the following ways:

STEM FAIR/STEM SUMMIT

The STEM Fair/STEM Summit is held each year in January. According to James Brown, Executive Director of the STEM Education Coalition in Washington, DC, “The future of the economy is in STEM. That’s where the jobs of tomorrow will be.”

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics support that assertion. Employment in occupations related to STEM—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—is projected to grow to more than nine million between 2012 and 2022. That’s an increase of about one million jobs over 2012 employment levels. Our students county-wide showcase their STEM skills through the hypothesis, research, preparation, execution and collaboration of their projects, allowing them the opportunity to investigate fields of study in which they are curious, while engaging with community members and working side by side with area experts within those fields of study. Considering the diverse STEM economy and R&D-driven businesses in Sarasota County, the connections our students forge with area mentors at or retired from these companies and institutions open a world of opportunity and lifelong bonds of mutual admiration.

COMPETITIONS

The sky’s the limit as Sarasota County students advance through school, area and state STEM-related competitions. As students earn awards locally, they are encouraged to set their sights on national and international competitions, such as Intel State and Intel National Championships and VEX Competitions. The Education Foundation helps to support our hard-working students along their journey to success, by funding such needs as travel and project requirements. When Sarasota County students showcase their innovations on a national or global stage, they raise the profile of our entire area.

HIGH SCHOOL ACADEMIC OLYMPICS

Academic Olympics encourages academically talented high school students to be recognized for their hard work in all subject matters. These students become a part of a team, which bolsters the five C’s: competence, confidence, connections, character and caring. At the heart of their Academic Olympics experience, students’ self-esteem flourishes.

In addition to so many personal benefits to today’s student, teamwork toward a common goal affords these academically talented students a meaningful place to learn valuable time management and communication skills while being recognized for their love of learning.

Community partners, such as the Venice and Sarasota Associations of American University Women and the Military Officers Association, contribute time, talent, and treasure to give young people at every participating high school a chance to shine. Faculty volunteer their free time to coach students through rigorous training sessions and district-wide elimination matches. The Academic Olympics season culminates in a Sarasota County Schools champion high school match and a chance for competitors of all participating teams to try for the All-Star Team and go to the State Academic Olympics Championship each April.

To get involved, please contact Kati Burns at kburns@edfoundationsrq.org.

EDUCATESRQ

EducateSRQ, our School-wide and Classroom Grants program, affords our phenomenal Sarasota County Schools administrators with the ability to improve schools overall and for educators to take their lessons to the next level—an opportunity we truly cherish. School-wide Grants enable entire schools to make greater leaps toward 21st-century learning environments.

Yet there is no better way to support our teachers and students than directly in the classroom. EducateSRQ encourages all teachers across K-12 grade levels to apply for grants that will directly support their individual classrooms through hands-on projects that cover all subjects or via an EdExploreSRQ field trip, a program we are proud to amplify. Educators report increases in student achievement and improvement in behavior across the board as a result of EducateSRQ grants.

Teachers at all grade levels and public schools in Sarasota County are invited to apply for project grants up to $1,000. Thanks to generous donors, the Education Foundation has awarded over $3 million for more than 4,000 classroom grants, opening new horizons for thousands of students over the years.