More than two dozen area schools to benefit from STEM initiative
LITTLE ROCK, Ark (Jan. 23, 2018) – Two of Arkansas’s best-known brands in children’s programming are teaming up to enhance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education in central Arkansas. On Tuesday, leadership from the Toad Suck Daze festival and the Museum of Discovery announced “Toad Suck Tinkerfest presented by Acxiom,” a new partnership benefitting more than two dozen elementary schools in Faulkner, Pulaski, Lonoke, Cleburne, Van Buren, and Conway counties. The initiative will also provide membership to the museum’s Discovery Network for each participating school. Network membership is made possible though a gift from First Arkansas Bank & Trust.
“On behalf of everyone here at the Museum of Discovery, let me say we are thrilled the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce understood the value of membership in the Discovery Network and rallied civic-minded sponsors like Acxiom and First Arkansas Bank & Trust to support all of these elementary schools,” said Kelley Bass, CEO of the Museum of Discovery. “The real beneficiaries, of course, are the children who attend these schools. Their teachers will learn many fun, hands-on educational activities that will engage the students and open their eyes to a different style of learning. That learning – and fun – will span the next two semesters, and will be on public display at Toad Suck Daze this May. We are thrilled to forge the partnerships announced today.”
More than 24 teachers have already been trained on using “tinkering kits” in a class setting. The kits allow students to develop a variety of practical skills while being exposed to STEM-oriented concepts such as circuitry, robotics, and more. In May, students will have the opportunity to participate in an open-to-the-public Tinkerfest at the Toad Suck Daze festival in downtown Conway.
“For almost 40 years Toad Suck Daze has invested in the education of Faulkner County youth,” said Jamie Gates, executive vice president of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce. “Today’s partnership extends that mission to kids across central Arkansas. This May, when we all gather in downtown Conway for a weekend of food, family fun – and toad racing – we’ll be improving the educational experience for kids in seven counties.”
The list of participating schools includes the following:
- Stagecoach Elementary
- Clinton Elementary School
- Conway School District (9 elementary schools)
- Conway Christian Lower Elementary
- Greenbrier Eastside
- Springhill Elementary
- Wooster Elementary
- Heber Springs Elementary
- Jacksonville Arnold Drive/Tolleson
- Jacksonville Bayou Meto
- Lighthouse Academy
- Crystal Hill Elementary
- Pine Forest Elementary
- St. Joseph Elementary
- Maumelle Charter Elementary/Academics Plus
- Mayflower Elementary
- Morrilton Elementary
About Toad Suck Daze
Since 1982, a central Arkansas festival with a quirky name has contributed more than $1.7 million to scholarships, scholarship endowments, preschool funding, and arts education. As Arkansas’s largest festival, Toad Suck Daze attracts more than 100,000 festivalgoers of all ages to downtown Conway the first weekend of May for national and local musical entertainment, food-on-a-stick, retail and arts-and-crafts vendors, and most notably, the World Championship Toad Races. For more information about Toad Suck Daze, visit toadsuck.org.
About the Museum of Discovery
Museum of Discovery’s mission is to ignite a passion for science, technology, engineering, arts and math in a dynamic, interactive environment.
About Discovery Network
The Discovery Network, a statewide program of the Museum of Discovery, provides high-quality professional development and training opportunities to its members’ educational staff. The Discovery Network allows the Museum of Discovery to support other educational entities in their efforts to bring quality STEM education to its learners. The Network’s member organizations are located strategically throughout Arkansas to extend outreach to all areas. Network members support each other by sharing operational strategies, collaborating with teachers and expanding educational programs. Each of the members, together, provides the highest quality educational experience to the children, families and teachers of Arkansas.