Cloud Peak Energy and KTVQ team up monthly to provide area schools with grants to use for projects intended to improve their communities and schools.
Here are the three April contestants:
Orchard Elementary School in Billings would like to expand the selection of books in its library.
"STEM books are really important because science, technology, engineering and math, that’s the wave our future. Many of our kids will be filling those jobs some day, and our kids have shown a big interest in those areas. And so we’re excited to look for different ways to find books for them and pique their interest," Assistant Principal Dustin Gaugler said.
Familiarizing students with these topics at a young age could help inspire future passions, he added.
"For our kids it’s more just about access, and access to things that are interactive, and things that they can really just immerse themselves in." Gaugler said.
Billings Skyview High School’s Emotionally Disturbed or DELTA class hopes to fund trips out into the community.
"My kids, a lot of them, they visit the pantry, because they don’t have food at home that they need. And they just are grateful though, they don’t come to school and say, I have nothing, or this happened, or whatever. To them, it’s just kind of the norm and so the big part of this year what we have done is we do field trips every month," Delta teacher Jessica Bulluck said.
In addition to the trips, they do a monthly service project in town.
"So we do a lot of social skills. We do a lot of, ‘what kind of behavior should you display in public?’ And that’s where these field trips come in," Bulluck said.
The outings allow students to interactive positively while exploring new experiences.
"We just want to help break the cycle and help them say, ‘OK, well I can experience these kinds of things, and these are things I want to carry on with my kids.’ And things that maybe they wouldn’t have had," Bulluck said.
Saint Francis Catholic School’s ANTS program provides students with on-site field experience at the Audubon Center. The grant would help with the cost of field trips.
"It’s great fun. It’s one of those things where the kids really bond going out there and doing it. It’s like a big family," Margie Larson of Saint Francis said.
The program is meant to promote critical thinking and teamwork through the outdoors, in connection with STEM subjects.
"It’s fun to see the kids learning. It’s fun to see those ‘ah-ha moments’ with them with the bugs. It’s stuff that you don’t really think about when you’re just out in nature, but they learn that, to look a little deeper," Larson said.
The school with the most votes will receive $2,000, the second, $1,000, and the third school will put $500 toward their project.
To vote for your favorite school, donate additionally to their project, or nominate a school for May, click here.