St. George Municipal School Unit selected as quarterfinalist for Yass Prize

Sun, 10/01/2023 - 5:45pm

ST. GEORGE — St. George Municipal School Unit was recently selected as one of 64 quarterfinalists for the Yass Prize. This is a national competition with a mission "to identify and support more best-in-class education providers who can tackle the big education challenges of the day and deliver an education for students that is Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding and Permissionless." As a quarterfinalist, St. George MSU receives $100,000; semifinalists receive $200,000 and the grand prize is $1,000,000.

St. George MSU was chosen from nearly 2,000 applications, representing 27 million students from every sector in education and every grade in the PreK-12 continuum across all 50 states. The small, rural school district was competing with charter schools, private schools, education technology companies, national school networks, and educator recruitment programs. St. George School was one of only three "traditional" public schools  chosen in the country. The Yass Prize recognized the "contemporary, inventive, and diverse in-district offerings" provided by St. George School.

These offerings include the CTE/Makerspace Project – a partnership between St. George MSU and Mid-Coast School of Technology (MCST) to construct a PreK–8th grade Career Technical Education (CTE)/Makerspace building. The new building will include a shop space for boatbuilding, woodworking, and metalwork as well as a Makerspace with 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC routers, robotics, and sewing machines.
"The CTE/Makerspace Project grew from the requests of teachers, parents, and community members in 2016 to bring shop back to St. George School,” said Superintendent Mike Felton, in a news release. “It connects to the legacy of the Grace Institute, a local nonprofit that provided culinary arts and shop classes to St. George students from 1936-2011. It took shape as the Makerspace Initiative in 2016.  And it's rooted in the generations of St. George educators, staff, families, and community members who prioritized hands-on/minds-on learning that engaged students and connected them to their community." 

Superintendent Felton believes that St. George MSU "is stretching people's minds as to what's possible in public education," said the release.
Governor Janet Mills visited the school last spring to learn more about the project and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree selected the CTE/Makerspace Project as one of only fifteen projects she's submitting for Community Project Funding in the federal budget.
Felton also recognized fellow quarterfinalist Herring Gut Science Center.

"We want to congratulate our neighbor Herring Gut who has been a stalwart community partner of ours for many years and an innovator in education," he said.