Philadelphia Elementary School will partner with Dr. John Hunt and his staff at Science Fun Day to become a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School, thanks to a $12,300 grant from the Weyerhaeuser Foundation.

All PES teachers and staff members will receive professional development and materials in preparation for becoming a STEM school starting in August.

Dr. Hunt, a Mississippi College Professor of Teacher Education and Leadership, will train teachers on how to incorporate discrepant events into daily instruction and how to integrate science, technology, engineering and math into students' lives to make it relevant, PES Principal Stacie Collins said.

She and interim superintendent Robert Turnage thanked Philadelphia Weyerhaeuser manager Stan Webb for the grant, awarded by the Weyerhaeuser Foundation.

Webb also presented PES with six laptop computers on behalf of Weyerhaeuser Thursday morning.

"Through the years, Weyerhaeuser has been a great supporter of our community and our schools," Turnage said.

Teacher and staff training will begin in March. STEM will be implemented in the fall at PES.

Last October, Philadelphia Elementary and Middle School students participated in a Science Fun Day, the brainchild of Dr. Hunt, who uses ordinary objects and materials to conduct science experiments.

All students who participated in the Science Fun Day showed gains in their science knowledge and demonstration based on one day of participation, according to pre and post test results, Collins said.

Because of the participation in the Fun Day and because of the positive outcomes along with the tremendous community and staff support, PES was invited to partner with Dr. Hunt to become a STEM school, she said.

Only a few schools in the state, and ultimately in the country, have been invited, Collins said.

All 45 licensed K-6 teachers at Philadelphia Elementary will be trained by Dr. Hunt and his staff starting in the spring on how to incorporate science, technology, engineering and/or math into all subjects.

Teachers will receive training in problem-solving, critical thinking, inventions and team building. Educators will build projects and use supporting e-books and media presentations and development activities other educators have used successfully.

In addition to professional development, teachers will also be provided materials to assist in their development and presentation of lessons to encompass science, technology, engineering and/or math. Prior to the project's end, the school will host its own Science Fun Day.

Collins said there were four skills that all students need to master for the 21st Century.

"They are creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication," she said.

Through this professional development, teachers of STEM will learn to shift from a teacher-centered class to a student-centered class, thus ensuring that their students will be engaged in their own learning, she said.