Grant awarded to Western Virginia Foundation for the Arts and Sciences, Enhance Educational Environment

The Foundation is pleased to support Center in the Square’s effort to promote the sciences and fun learning experiences to the public education system. Center in the Square is visited by over 500,000 patrons annually, all of which have the opportunity to become educated through their free atrium and rooftop spaces, used in the Get Schooled! Program. In addition to this, the Get Schooled! Field Trip Program invites students to tour the facility and to learn with their qualified staff in a unique environment. Children learn in a multitude of ways, through reading, listening, playing, discovering and more. Center in the Square is an “outside of the textbook” resource for teachers, students, and the general public. They assist teachers with SOL compliant tours of atrium’s aquariums, coral lab, and green rooftop spaces. Being an educational resource is very important to them, and they are always striving to provide the most innovative, fun experiences possible.

The grant will be used  would be used to help fund new innovative approaches (like augmented reality) to the Get Schooled! Field Trip Program and to offer discounted pricing to the schools that need it the most in this area. Roanoke City Public Schools have some of the lowest scores on Schooldigger.com in the entire state of Virginia. With nearly 6,800 elementary students, they have the ability to impact thousands of children’s lives for the better. They would like to offer a drastically reduced Get Schooled! Field Trip rate for elementary students within Roanoke City Public Schools. Since school funding has been decreasing over the years, a reduction in cost for these schools would make a big difference as to whether or not they can visit Center in the Square. Evaluation forms will be emailed to teachers (and for their students) after they visit Center in the Square and experience Get Schooled! A comment box will also be set out for the general public. Attendance counts will also be taken for each aspect of The Get Schooled! Field Trip Program.

Their goal is for all children to have memorable learning experiences that carry well into their adult years. Center in the Square offers an 8,000 gal. saltwater tank full of amazing fish (like Nemo), an Amazon River tank, two jellyfish tanks, a predator tank, a turtle tank, green rooftop spaces, and so much more to the public at no charge. Adults and children of all ages can visit Center in the Square’s atrium and rooftop spaces MondaySunday any week of the year. To further enhance these educational environments, they’ve created The Get Schooled! Field Trip Program to help teachers with an SOL compliant resource unlike any other in the region. With funds from The Kathryn B. McQuade Foundation, they can sustain this resource, expand upon it, and offer a reduced rate to the Roanoke City Public Schools, serving thousands of low income students. Their goal is for all people to have the same opportunities for education at the Center in the Square.

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