PUSD Press Release

PUSD Press Release
Posted on 12/06/2018

Payson Unified School District Receives $200,000 from the Caris Charitable Trust

Grant will be used for STEM education programs throughout the District
Payson Unified School District is proud to announce that four schools in the District have received a gift from the Caris Charitable Trust for STEM programs. The generous gift is for $200,000 and will be utilized at Julia Randall Elementary School, Rim Country Middle School, Payson High School, and Payson Center for Success.

The Caris Charitable Trust was set up upon the death of Mr. Richard F. Caris. Mr. Caris was an engineer, inventor and entrepreneur. He wanted to pass on his passion for science and mathematics by supporting nonprofit education organizations with funds for STEM programs.

Julia Randall Elementary School received $33,645 for the development of the LEGO Education Program. The LEGO Education Programs provide students with an introduction into concepts of physics and problem solving up to the development of coding for robotics. The LEGO programs that will be utilized at JRE include STEAM Park, WeDo 2.0, and LEGO MINDSTORMS. Linda Scoville, Principal at JRE, commented, “This generous gift will allow JRE to establish a STEM Lab that will create a science and technology rich environment for all our students”.

Rim Country Middle School received $17,060 for the LEGO Education Program and $64,000 for equipment for the development of a STEM Lab. RCMS will continue the LEGO educational program with LEGO MINDSTORMS and build robots utilizing LEGO’s “p-bricks”. Students will build robots and then develop graphical programming to have the robots carry out specific commands.

In addition, the STEM Lab at RCMS will purchase licensing for Minecraft. This coding program will allow students to increase their knowledge of coding and robotics. Jennifer White, Principal at RCMS, said, “I am so excited for our students. This generous gift will ensure that we can keep challenging the students at RCMS as we prepare them for high school and beyond”.

Payson High School received $70,295 for the purchase of equipment for the development of a STEM Lab. The STEM lab at PHS will include robotics equipment, CDA computer software, drones, and a 3D space scanner. Mr. Jeff Simon, Principal at PHS, commented, “Biochemistry, engineering, computer programming and emerging technologies are just a small sliver of the STEM workforce needs. This generous gift will allow PHS to start to build a lab that will prepare our students for college and the workforce”.

Payson Center for Success received $15,000 for the sustainability of the Robotics program at the school. Linda Gibson, Principal at Payson Center for Success, said, “The school and robotics program is thankful to the Caris Charitable Trust for their generous gift. This funding will help the robotics team purchase the necessary equipment to build their robot and participate in the FIRST Robotics Competition”. FIRST Robotics is a project-based, hands on competition that has inspired students for the past thirty year.

Ms. Brenda Case, Director of Student Achievement, said, “The Payson Unified School District has a core value of innovation. This generous gift will help the District continue to be innovative in providing a world class education for the students in Payson and surrounding communities.”

Vicky Andrews, Director of Technology, was excited for the gift because of the connection to the recent Hour of Code activities throughout the District. She stated, “This generous gift will allow students in the District to be exposed to the concepts in the Hour of Code all year long”.

Payson Unified School District continues to be a leader in the implementation of technology in the K-12 educational setting. The District was recently named a Google Education Reference District. The District is only one of two hundred and thirty-four (234) districts in the world recognized by Google. Understanding the important role technology will play in the lives of K-12 students provides the focus for the District to pursue using technology in our schools to bring the world to our students.