A few months ago, Utah Lt. Governor Spencer Cox visited BrainStorm, Inc., a Utah company that specializes in technology adoption and education. After the tours and presentations, company leaders asked Lt. Governor Cox what they could do to help enhance technology education in Utah.
“He didn’t even hesitate,” said John Wade, a principal officer at BrainStorm. “He told us to reach out to a rural school or school district and ask the same question.”
Challenge accepted, Lt. Governor. For the past few months, BrainStorm has coordinated with teachers and leaders from Carbon School District to lay the foundation for a long-term relationship.
The partnership kicked off with an all-day event called SPARK Technology Fair, where students at Mont Harmon Middle School in Price, Utah, received hands-on training from BrainStorm employees in virtual reality, graphic design, video production, video editing and HTML coding.
“Tech jobs are the future and students have more options than ever,” said Ciera Walker, BrainStorm’s corporate giving committee lead. “We want to ignite students’ interest in what could be out there waiting for them. Understanding student interest, talent and opportunity levels allows us to continue the partnership.”
“This is not a flash in the pan or just about 2018,” explained Eric Farr, a principal officer at BrainStorm. “This is our starting point and we want to use our expertise, our creativity and our enthusiasm to point students toward technology careers.”
“We are thrilled and overwhelmed with what BrainStorm is doing for us,” said Renee Banasky, a teacher at Mont Harmon Middle School. “After we first met with them and discussed our plans, dreams and ideas, I left the meeting and went back to my classroom and just about cried. We are so excited about what we can do for students with this partnership.”
In his remarks at the press conference, Lt. Governor Spencer Cox noted that “We’ve put a great deal of emphasis on creating new jobs and economic growth in rural Utah. The partnership between BrainStorm and Carbon School District is the right place to start to ensure we meet those objectives.”
“Forty-five percent of our students are from low income families and 17 percent of our students have disabilities,” said Seth Allred, Principal of Mont Harmon Middle School. “BrainStorm is providing an important service to our students and community that will generate positive long-term outcomes.”
“Four years ago, Mont Harmon received ‘D’ grades from the [Utah] State Board of Education,” noted Lance Hatch, Carbon School District superintendent. “Over the last two years, they’ve worked hard, received ‘C’ grades and continue to make significant strides. Public-private partnerships like the one with BrainStorm are critical to our success.”
“We have a passion and a vision for what can be done in Carbon County and in other rural schools,” said Wade. “We are starting with Mont Harmon today, and we look forward to working with Carbon High School in the very near future.”