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Bellevue/Offutt Community Celebrates Department of Defense $1.4 Million Investment in National STEM Program for BPS


Gov. Pete Ricketts and Offutt AFB 55th Wing Commander Col. Michael H. Manion were among civic and military leaders who celebrated a $1.4 million grant on Tuesday from the U.S. Department of Defense to support advanced STEM education in Bellevue Public Schools.  

The grant will support the three-year College Readiness Program from the National Math and Science Initiative. The Dallas-based nonprofit is known nationally for the dramatic impact its programs have for schools, teachers and students. This is the first time for the organization to work with Nebraska schools.  

“Skills and knowledge in science, technology, engineering and math are critical not only to growing Nebraska’s economy, but also to national security,” Ricketts said. “I am grateful to the Department of Defense for this important investment in our students and I look forward to celebrating their success.”  

Manion noted that service members often worry about their children’s education, particularly when they have to consider new assignments that move them around the country.  

“The work that NMSI does ensures that service members can have confidence in the schools that serve our military installations,” Manion said.  

Teachers at Bellevue East and Bellevue West Senior High Schools already have experienced their first round of training with NMSI. In addition to teacher training, NMSI works with schools to ensure greater access to advanced classes, provides classroom and lab supplies and gives students extra study time with expert teachers.  

In addition, Bellevue teachers in grades 3-12 are able to get additional training to help prepare students for advanced courses.  

“We have tremendous teachers and the extra help from NMSI will only make them better,” said Superintendent Dr. Jeff Rippe. “We are all grateful to the Department of Defense and the National Math and Science Initiative for investing in our community.”  

Through its Military Families Mission, NMSI supports STEM and English education at more than 230 public schools in 33 states. After one year in the College Readiness Programs, students at those schools increase their number of qualifying scores on Advanced Placement® exams by 74 percent. Qualifying scores on AP® exams allow illustrate mastery of college-level material and make students eligible for college course credit that can save them time and tuition costs.  

“STEM skills are critical today regardless of whether students dream of working in a STEM field, serving our country or pursuing other opportunities,” said Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr., NMSI’s CEO and a history-making NASA astronaut. “We are honored to serve the children of military service members and we look forward to the work ahead of us with Bellevue Schools.” 

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