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Public Post is a community reporting initiative using digital tools to report on cities and towns across Vermont.Public Post is the only resource that lets you browse and search documents across dozens of Vermont municipal websites in one place.Follow reporter Amy Kolb Noyes and #PublicPost on Twitter and read news from the Post below.

Browns River Middle School Wants Votes To Win A Lab Makeover

Joyce Babbitt
Browns River Middle School
Teacher Willie Lee works with students in the Browns River Middle School design technology lab. The school is a semifinalist in a national contest to for STEM funding.

Browns River Middle School in Jericho has a one-in-four chance of winning a national grant to revamp its science and engineering design lab, but the school needs help to get the money. Browns River is one of 20 public middle school semifinalists in the Northrop Grumman Foundation's Fab School Labs contest. The winners will be granted up to $100,000 to give their labs a makeover. But which schools get the money is determined, in part, by an online voting contest happening next week on the Fab School Labs Facebook page.

"Inadequate access to funds and facilities are frequently cited problems by educators as it relates to science and mathematics education at the elementary and middle school level, according to the National Science Board and other education sources," a contest announcement states. "To help meet the education demands of today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world, the Northrop Grumman Foundation – through its Fab School Labs program – is helping today’s science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) labs and classrooms become places of inspiration, imagination and opportunity for students."

Nearly 200 schools were in the original pool of applicants, which has been narrowed to 20 semifinalists. The application process involved making a case for the school's need based upon videos, photos and essays. Browns River Middle School Design Technology teacher Willie Lee submitted this video for his school:

The finalists represent 19 communities in 12 states. Browns River Middle School is the only school in New England to make the cut. Online voting takes place next week, with four schools per day vying for votes.

Voting day for Browns River is Wednesday, Nov. 18. Also competing for votes that day are Aurora Frontier P-8 in Aurora Colo., Calavera Middle School in Carlsbad, Calif. and Stewartville Middle School in Stewartville, Minn.

Amy is an award winning journalist who has worked in print and radio in Vermont since 1991. Her first job in professional radio was at WVMX in Stowe, where she worked as News Director and co-host of The Morning Show. She was a VPR contributor from 2006 to 2020.
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