Two campuses in Ore City ISD are among 19 schools in Texas and California to receive STEM grants issued by the makers of the TV show “Young Sheldon,” which stars former Ore City student Montana Jordan.
The Young Sheldon Stem Initiative, launched by the foundation of the show’s producer, Chuck Lorre, will offer more than $600,000 in two-year grants to support STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) programs. Texas and California schools were chosen because the series is set and filmed there, according to the Chuck Lorre Family Foundation.
The initiative, which begins this school year, also is supported by “The Big Bang Theory” star/executive producer Jim Parsons, who’s from Houston and attended three of the awarded schools.
The only campuses in this area to receive grants are in Ore City ISD, where Montana went to school. His mother, Kelli Smith, also taught first grade in the district.
Montana, 15, plays the part of Georgie, Sheldon’s big brother on “Young Sheldon,” which airs on CBS.
Ore City ISD will receive $30,000 total — $15,000 this school year and the same amount in 2019-20, elementary school Principal Chad Miller said Friday.
Miller said his campus will get $5,000 of the $15,000 this year with the middle school receiving $10,000.
His campus has a new curriculum called STEMscopes, and Miller said the $5,000 will help purchase items related to that.
“So (the students) can do hands-on activities instead of watching someone on a video,” he said.
Miller also said his campus likely will purchase technology items such as Chromebooks, but that decision isn’t finalized.
“The grants allow us to have a more personal experience for the kids and enhance learning for them,” he said, adding that such grants are important to Ore City ISD, which doesn’t have the funding of larger districts.
Ore City ISD Business Manager Talina McElhany said Friday that a robotics lab is planned at the middle school.
The grants also will include an opportunity for Texas teachers and students to attend field trips to Space Center Houston, the visitor center of NASA Johnson Space Center.
The other Texas schools to receive grants are Klein Oak High School, Strack Intermediate School in Klein, Haude Elementary School in Spring, Tomball High School, Tomball Memorial High School, Tomball Junior High, Creekside Park Junior High in The Woodlands and Willow Wood Junior High in Tomball.