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O&R STEM Grant Helps Robots Guide Pearl River Students About New York


For Kim Ulrich, New York State is quite literally her classroom. Kim was looking for a novel way to teach 44 fourth graders at Lincoln Elementary School in Pearl River the year’s remaining social studies curriculum and decided would design a tour of New York State led by robots. 

Armed with a giant blank map of New York, a dozen glass spheres the size of a baseball packed with electronics and a Chromebook, Kim’s 11 teams of four will lay out a NY State tour and then “teach” the robots to guide and narrate it. The students will use code to program the robots to visit the five most populous cities in New York, Rockland County, Pearl River, New York’s bordering states and Canada.

The robots, while skimming across the map, will visit and point out notable land formations such as mountains, plateaus, rivers, lakes, the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound. And, thanks to the voice feature, the robots will offer facts about each location.

The more Kim thought of the idea, the better she liked it. She drew up her lesson plan to emphasize team work, scientific observation, problem solving, data collection and analysis.
She wrote a proposal, applied for and was awarded a $1,000 O&R STEM Classroom Grant for the 2018-2019 school year.

Kim also applied for an O&R STEM Classroom Grant for the 2019-2020 school year as well, and was awarded a $994.95 grant for a project that combines English Language Arts, Math, robotics and storytelling.

O&R today awarded grants throughout its service area totaling over $54,000 to support 63 creative, cutting-edge classroom projects, like this echolocation project, that focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

In Rockland County, O&R awarded 33 grants totaling $28,000 for the 2019-2020 school year. A complete list of this year’s Rockland County winners is at the end of this press release.

O&R’s STEM Classroom Grants provided up to $1,000 each to educators at schools (pre-kindergarten through grade 12) and youth group leaders for the 2019-2020 school year in communities located within O&R’s service area. That encompasses: Rockland and parts of Orange and Sullivan counties in New York and parts of Bergen, Passaic and Sussex counties in New Jersey.

Talented, hard-working, thoughtful teachers, like Kim Ulrich, have crafted ambitious, interesting, ingenious, sparkling lesson plans that sizzle. These out-of-the-box proposals are designed to challenge students to think, plan, act and achieve — and have fun doing it.


View a video of the Classroom Grant Program in action at Port Jervis Middle School’s seventh grade Life Science class.

O&R President and CEO Robert Sanchez said, “This year’s winning proposals are impressive in their scope, their sophistication and their application. They are certainly well designed to educate, guide and train, but they also engage, entertain and inspire. Those are all the hallmarks of a successful program.”

Over the past five years, O&R has awarded 197 STEM Classroom Grants totaling nearly $174,000. Those grants ranged from $197 to $1,000.

The grants were awarded based on a review of teacher-submitted proposals by the O&R STEM Education Advisory Council, a panel of educators and engineers assembled by O&R expressly for this purpose. This year, the Council reviewed 114 applications and awarded 63 grants.

Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies. O&R is a regulated utility. It provides electric service to approximately 300,000 customers in southeastern New York State (where its franchise name is Orange & Rockland) and northern New Jersey (where it’s Rockland Electric Company) and natural gas service to approximately 130,000 customers in New York.

In Rockland, 33 grants were made for 2019-2020 totaling over $28,000. The winners are:


  • New City Jewish Center Early Childhood Learning Center – New City – Laurie Schoolsky
  • Bardonia Elementary School – Bardonia – Jonathan Ross
  •  Cornerstone Christian School – New City - Joan Gallucci
  • Pearl River Middle School – Pearl River – Jessica Kearns
  • Clarkstown Central School District – New City – Christina Amendola
  • Pearl River Union Free School District – Pearl River – Kimberly Ulrich
  • Kakiat STEAM Academy – Spring Valley- Stacey-Anne McDonald
  • Haverstraw Elementary School – Haverstraw – Nicole Jessie
  • Willow Grove Elementary School – Thiells - Rickey McGillicuddy
  • Hempstead Elementary School – Spring Valley - Keri Prusinowski
  • Sacred Heart School – Suffern - Ellen Priest
  • Hempstead Elementary School - Spring Valley - Benjamin Toper
  • Clarkstown Central School District – New City - Dean Gianakouros
  • Haverstraw Elementary School – Haverstraw - Kevin McCauley
  • R.P. Connor Elementary School – Suffern - Trisha Lanese
  • Stony Point Elementary School – Stony Point – Jennifer LaBier
  • Spring Valley High School – Spring Valley – Jannethe Pardo
  • South Orangetown Middle School – Blauvelt - Louis Chugranis
  • Haverstraw Elementary School – Haverstraw - Letitia Politi
  • North Rockland High School – Thiells - Jeanne Maguire
  • Pearl River High School – Pearl River – Kara Afanasewicz
  • Fleetwood Elementary School – Chestnut Ridge - Janelle Simpson-Luna
  • Sloatsburg Elementary School – Sloatsburg – Eleni Pallogudis
  • Sloatsburg Elementary School – Sloatsburg --- Elvire Conklin
  • Pearl River Middle School – Pearl River – Howard Baumel and Michael Herskowitz
  • Felix Festa Middle School – West Nyack – Dan Neil
  • Fieldstone Middle School – Thiells - David Guerrieri
  • Albertus Magnus High School – West Nyack – Cristina Conciatori
  • Clarkstown Central School District – New City - Amanda Solarish
  • Tappan Zee High School – Orangeburg – Karen Connell
  • St. Paul School - Valley Cottage - AnneMarie Romeo and Donna Cardinuto
  • St. Paul School –Valley Cottage - Denise Snyder
  • St. Paul School – Valley Cottage – Sr. Anne Schwartz

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