WARREN - Trumbull County Schools' new curriculum will give students a competitive edge in both their education and their career of choice, BP director of Government and Public Affairs Curtis Thomas said.
BP America announced its investment in the STEM-based Web curriculum in a demonstration Wednesday at the Trumbull County Educational Service Center. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
"It was a great opportunity for BP to explain ... the importance we put on education and how important it is for us to be a part of the fabric of the community,'' Thomas said.
The curriculum involves a state-of-the-art, interactive web-based program that students and teachers can access both at school and home. Students will be able to observe videos and perform activities directly related to a STEM-based field, TCESC Assistant Superintendent Robert Marino said.
An example involving wind turbines was demonstrated during Wednesday's launch. Students were able to observe the positive and negative effects of wind energy on the environment.
Students who are not usually aware of what engineers do, for example, will be able to familiarize themselves with the day-to-day activities of people in that profession, he said.
BP will receive progress reports from TCESC regarding who is accessing the program, what aspects of the program they are utilizing and how often.
The curriculum involves a partnership between BP, TCESC and the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber and was launched with assistance from the Eastern Ohio P-16 (Partnership for Education) Initiative.
The program is available to 20,000 students in grades 4 through 12 in Trumbull County's public school districts.
"TCS had identified this program as one that they need,'' Jim Houck, senior consultant for Pecchia Communications, said. ''It was something that (BP) wanted to fund."
Another reason BP got involved is because it is interested in training the next generation of workers, including engineers, scientists and geologists, professions which BP is looking to hire with the advancement of the oil and gas industry, Thomas said.
"It's no secret it's an aging work force," he said.
BP's investment of $50,000 provides Trumbull County Schools with licensing to the software for two years, funds training for 200 teachers and helps to defray costs of substitutes while teachers are being trained.
At the end of the two-year subscription, BP and Trumbull County Schools will meet to evaluate the progress the program has made and its effect on students to determine whether the program will be continued.