Franklin receives grant for robotics-drones lab

From staff reports

Franklin Area School District has received a$22,000 grant from the Pittsburgh-based McElhattan Foundation that will support the creation of a robotics and drones (RAD) lab at Franklin High School.

The lab will be in place for the start of the 2019-2020 academic year.

The grant award will provide the needed robotics and aerial drones for use in next fall’s emerging technologies course at the high school, according to a press release from Tim Heffernan, the school district’s technology instructor.

In addition to the course itself, the resources will be available to all students in grades 7-12 and their teachers for STEM based learning opportunities, Heffernan said.

“We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity that the McElhattan Foundation has provided to our students through this gift,” Franklin Superintendent Pamela Dye said. “This collaborative effort truly is bringing world-class STEM education offerings to our school district and our community.”

The McElhattan Foundation awards grants through a competitive application and review process, which includes a site visit during that process, the press release said.

“When the Foundation visited Franklin, we were very impressed with the STEM program, and we’re happy to be able to fund its expansion,” said Lesley Carlin, executive director of the McElhattan Foundation.

The Foundation, established in 1994, originally served as the philanthropic arm of Industrial Scientific Corp., a company founded by K.E. McElhattan and his son, Kent D. McElhattan.

When the family sold Industrial Scientific in 2017, a portion of the proceeds went into the Foundation’s endowment, and the Foundation chose “preserving and enhancing human life” as its mission.