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TVA Partnership Awards Tolbert Elementary School $5,000 STEM Grant

TVA Partnership Awards Tolbert Elementary School $5,000 STEM Grant

March 2021, NASHVILLE, Tenn. ― The Tennessee Valley Authority, in partnership with North Georgia EMC and Bicentennial Volunteers Incorporated (a TVA retiree organization), recently awarded Tolbert Elementary School (TES), $5,000 for a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education project. Tolbert Elementary School’s Patricia Harris and Stacy Calvert authored the grant on the school’s behalf, and school principal Shelley Allen, assistant principal Holly Sisson, and superintendent Dr. Kimberly Fraker were on hand for the award announcement. “I am excited about the opportunities this grant will provide our students,” said, Shelley Allen, Tolbert Elementary School principal. “Not only will it provide learning opportunities for STEM, but students will also be afforded the opportunity to learn real-world applications for those STEM lessons, as well as an opportunity to engage with our community through the process.”

The grant award is a part of $800,000 in competitive STEM grants awarded to nearly 200 schools across TVA’s seven-state service territory. Across the valley, educators submitted projects large and small, to further their STEM education initiatives in the classroom.

The project Tolbert Elementary School submitted, an outdoor garden called “Growing Minds”, will give all students the power to better understand skills to help them in today’s modern world. “As teachers at TES, we are in control of our students’ educational learning. By incorporating weekly STEM lessons for all students, through our outdoor community school garden, we can guarantee our students will be exposed to numerous engaging activities that will help them generate thoughtful decisions and build a team approach to problem-solving, which will help them in the modern world and economy which is the goal for ‘STEM for ALL,’” remarked Patricia Harris, STEM educator for TES. 

The competitive grant program provided teachers an opportunity to apply for funding up to $5,000 and preference was given to grant applications that explored TVA’s primary areas of focus: environment, energy, economic and career development, and community problem solving as well as pandemic related projects. Schools that receive grant funding must receive their power from a TVA distributor.

“Despite the new challenges Valley teachers faced in 2020, they are still focused on providing the best STEM education possible and have adjusted to new ways of teaching,” said Community Engagement Senior Program Manager Rachel Crickmar. “I am proud of the partnerships we have built with these amazing educators across the Tennessee Valley over the past few years and am pleased to be able to provide some support through this program. Through the grants awarded this year, over 72,000 students will be directly impacted across the Valley.”

A full list of the grant recipients can be found at

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation, and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.