LAYTON -- Northridge High School is building a new stadium, and the competitors who will do battle there are still in the early construction phase.
Thanks to a $660,000 grant from the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Educational Partnership, Northridge will have extra money for its engineering, science and math departments. A good chunk of the cash is going to the newly formed robotics class.
"The goal is to put the money where we can benefit kids the most," said Assistant Principal Luke Rasmussen.
Rasmussen was instrumental in the application process, filling out the initial paperwork with technical support from many of Northridge's teachers and district personnel.
The money comes from the FY 11 Grant Program, which is dedicated to helping military-connected local education agencies increase student achievement and ease the challenges students face due to transitions and deployment.
"Northridge High has enjoyed a long-standing partnership with Hill Air Force Base and recently has worked in conjunction with them to develop a strong engineering program," said Principal John D. Haning. "Just this year we started a robotics program that has been wildly popular."
The robotics class during school hours filled up quickly, which has school officials considering adding a second class.
Rasmussen said the school will build a stadium for competitions, which will be used in tournaments featuring schools from Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.
The grant also allows for the purchase of several robotics kits. Northridge's goal is to have one kit per two students, which is different from the usual one kit per five students.
"Now we've been able to take this to the next level," Rasmussen said.
Rasmussen said that, in addition to engineering, the grant will improve science studies.
"We can start organic chemistry and pay for extra instruction and after-school tutoring and science labs," Rasmussen said. "We'll also be able to get a lot of technology equipment for the teachers, such as smart boards, document cameras and probes used in labs.
The math classrooms will receive similar equipment that will be valuable teaching tools. The math department also plans to reinstitute morning and afternoon tutoring.
Part of the money is reserved strictly to aid military students. Northridge now has a counselor who specifically works with students from military families.
A key part of his responsibility is credit evaluations. Since military students likely have attended multiple schools, the counselor will help ease the students' transition to a new school while making sure classes from previous schools count toward graduation.
"He's started meeting with kids already," Rasmussen said. "We want to make sure they're on track to graduate and evaluate their needs and help them be successful in college and the future."