Fort Belvoir Garrison teamed up with the Washington Nationals to arrange for Fort Belvoir Elementary School students, principals and staff members to attend the MLB franchise's last regular-season matchup at Nats Park in D.C., Sunday.

The ball club, as part of its Nats On Base program, provided game tickets to the school, as a reward for it being selected as a Grand Slam School--a new initiative that contributes to the quality of life for Service members and Families in the region.

"The garrison commander's office worked with the Nationals to schedule last weekend's baseball game trip," said Jamey Chianetta, Fort Belvoir Upper School principal. "We were granted 2,000 tickets for families and, for many, it was their first opportunity to see a professional game. It was an amazing experience for all of us. We are also grateful to Cox Business for donating funds for school buses, which helped us get to the big game.

"We are so grateful for the installation's partnership with the Washington Nationals," Chianetta added. "It has engaged our students, staff and families and created great energy for learning."

The Grand Slam Schools program is the Nationals' newest education initiative, according to a recent Nationals press release. The inaugural cohort includes 10 D.C. schools that are participating in the adopt-a-school style program that emphasizes STEM, student attendance and supporting individual school needs. Program elements are designed to engage whole-school communities, during the school year and in the summer.

"Last Friday, FBES students participated in STEM lessons training with selected school staff, given at the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy," Chianetta added. "Our four teachers who attended thought it was terrific and are excited to bring back their learning. There is a Nationals STEM showcase in the spring with other Grand Slam schools and most projects are baseball-themed. We may pick the handful of students to go and display their STEAM projects - learning at the showcase.

"We also participate in (other baseball-themed projects)," Chianetta said. "The Fun at Bat program provides our PE teachers lessons that can be done at school, even indoors, to promote baseball skills, with training by Nationals staff, if needed. There's also the Summer Slugger Program, which includes lessons online to prevent summer skills slides and can be used any time of year, including during winter break. Margo Dias-Pareja, Fort Belvoir Primary School principal, and I were able to invite our staffs to this ballgame to kick off the new school year. It was amazing."

For more information, visit https://www.mlb.com/nationals/community/education-initiatives.