Pfizer Awards Country School Biotech Grant

The Country School is a proud recipient of Pfizer Connecticut’s $2,000 Community Grant. For the past 64 years, Pfizer has maintained a strong relationship with the community through grants, mentoring, and diverse volunteering opportunities. Schools in Southeastern Connecticut, the greater New Haven area, and southern Rhode Island were considered, and priority was given to programs that bring STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) to students from elementary through high school. Additionally, grant opportunities were focused on programs that provide for the underserved or to support local civic and cultural institutions. 
Being awarded this grant speaks specifically to The Country School’s STEAM Signature Program–one of the first for an elementary and middle school in the United States. This grant comes at a serendipitous time for the school as it is at the beginning of its 70th Anniversary Talent Within multi-million dollar Capital Campaign. Part of the funds of this campaign are earmarked for two new buildings including an Engineering Facility and Maker Spaces. 

Country School science teacher and Connecticut Technology Council Women of Innovation Finalist Dr. Amy Cornell created a Signature STEAM Program that infuses biotechnology into the middle school science curriculum. This authentic model of student-guided science education focused on modern biological tools nurtures a science-literate population and allows students to learn in a way that reflects how scientists come to understand the natural world. Developing scientific literacy early in the middle school years is beneficial to a students' growth in scientific thinking. It requires more than the ability to memorize information and the traditional dissemination of facts from teacher to learner. Rather, the changing needs of our society demand a new model, one which incorporates the tools of biotechnology and is focused on the ability to make sense of that information and apply it. 

Dr. Cornell’s inquiry-based Biotechnology Signature STEAM Program provides middle school students with the opportunity to learn about biotechnology through instruction, labs, and projects that allow for hands-on, real world scenarios and to make sense of scientific information and develop problem-solving skills through their own agency, assertion, and investigation. Students are exposed to modern technology platforms that are currently being used to build products and uncover bio-systems and processes in health and disease. The students will collaborate with a local university or corporate faculty member to apply their knowledge to an independent research project. A private school with a public purpose, The Country School students will then share their biotechnology concepts with future STEM leaders in regional middle school communities that lack these resources and opportunities. The sharing of knowledge is a critical component of this grant as biotechnology has become essential to solving some of today's most urgent scientific issues. 

The Country School’s science faculty, who have previously worked as scientists in academic and corporate environments, boast an extensive background in biotechnology approaches and techniques. Thanks to a generous school community and the faculty's real-world experiences, this Biotechnology Signature STEAM Program will flourish in an already rich environment of inquiry-based practices and process-heavy learning approaches, furthering Country School’s goal of "inspiring lifelong learners with a dynamic and rigorous curriculum." 
341 Opening Hill Road, Madison, CT 06443
P. 203-421-3113  |  F. 203-421-4390  |  Health Office F. 860-469-2550
Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent school serving students in PreSchool-Grade 8. The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child.