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OMAR - Omar Elementary School hosted a Community Math Night on April 15, part of a larger effort by The Education Alliance to promote math and so-called STEM careers.

The Education Alliance's initiative is called Energizing steM, designed to help young students build a strong foundation in math and engage older students and their families and community members by raising awareness of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers.

Family and community members explored content, activities and games that support math learning in fun ways.

"Omar Elementary recognizes the importance of developing a strong foundation in mathematics as the center of our STEM education program," said Martha Curry, principal of Omar Elementary School. "The math night was a great way to enhance public understanding of the need for STEM, build STEM career awareness, and provide a specific focus on the critical role of building strong math skills."

The math night was offered through a major grant from the American Electric Power Foundation.

Over the next several years, West Virginia is projecting to have 25,000 jobs in STEM-related fields. Workers in STEM occupations use science and math to drive the state's innovation and competitiveness by generating new ideas, new companies and new industries, proponents say.

"West Virginia has a bright future, and we want to ensure our students have the knowledge and skills they need to be successful. A strong background in STEM skills is a key part of that preparation," said Amelia Courts, president and chief executive officer of The Education Alliance. "The Education Alliance is extremely grateful for the AEP Foundation's significant investment in this effort. The Energizing steM initiative will be a powerful game-changer for many students."

Through this project, Omar Elementary received coaching and support from the Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia to design activities aligned with the West Virginia Department of Education's college and career readiness standards for math.

The project also provides 2,200 elementary students in Lincoln and Logan counties with an effective computer-based supplemental curriculum to improve math outcomes.

For more information about the Energizing steM Education initiative, visit EducationAlliance.org/STEM or contact Emily Pratt at 304-342-7849 or emily@educationalliance.org.