Thousands of Newark middle school students will participate in STEM learning activities, designed by scientists at MIT, from June 12-16
[Newark, NJ – June 12, 2017] ––Newark Public Schools (NPS) and i2 Learning held a pep rally at First Avenue School to announce the start of the district’s first-ever Newark STEM Week on Monday, June 12. The district’s STEM Week will expose nearly 2,000 students across 26 NPS schools to a variety of STEM education opportunities from June 12-16. The partnership will bring unique, hands-on learning experiences to middle school students throughout the week that are aligned to grade level standards and also engaging for students.
All 150 First Avenue School students participating in STEM Week, along with NPS Superintendent Christopher D. Cerf, City of Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, New Jersey State Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, and a variety of other community leaders, attended the pep rally to display their excitement for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and the week ahead.
“Newark Public Schools is excited to launch our partnership with i2 Learning to bring STEM Week to Newark’s students,” said Christopher D. Cerf, Superintendent for Newark Public Schools. “We are making major investments in STEM education across the city because we believe it is more important than ever. We look forward to working with i2 Learning to expose our students to new and exciting learning opportunities in STEM and see the amazing things our students and teachers will learn and produce in the days ahead.”
Throughout Newark STEM Week, students across the district will participate in one of three project-based STEM courses, including Kinetic Sculpture, Building a Lunar Colony and Digital Game Design, which were each developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), i2 Learning and other leading STEM organizations. Each week-long course is designed to have students solve real-world problems through activities that require hands-on experimentation and critical thinking skills.
“These STEM opportunities are incredibly important and meaningful for Newark students,” said Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “While we of course can’t solve all of our problems in one week, by exposing students to new things, getting them excited about STEM, and showing them that we are committed to STEM as an entire city and community, we can change their sense of possibility and put them on a different trajectory in life.”
The Newark STEM week initiative is one of a host of new partnerships the Newark Public Schools is announcing in the area of STEM education. This summer, Newark Public Schools will be locating a state of the art laboratory in the District’s new central office headquarters that will be run by the partner organization Students2Science. Building on an existing partnership, this new space will create more capacity for students to participate in authentic science learning opportunities in an environment with real scientists and equipment year-round, while also providing virtual learning opportunities for educators and students.
In addition, NPS announced that they will be expanding a robotics program across their elementary and high school after-school programs with a similar goal – to provide more engaging ways for students to experiment with and learn STEM skills. Lastly, the District announced that schools will be adopting a new Science curriculum next year for all middle school students aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards.
“We are very grateful for the opportunity to partner with i2 Learning to bring this high quality learning experience to our students this week,” said Ivory Williams, Director of Science Education at Newark Public Schools. “We are also excited to announce that we will be adopting a new science curriculum for all of our middle school students next year that will be complemented by our other exciting STEM partnerships. We believe the combination of these efforts will be a major step forward for Newark students and will help make a career in a STEM field a much more accessible reality for our students moving into the future.”
Additionally, through the district’s partnership with i2 Learning, NPS teachers were able to participate in a two-day i2 Learning training encompassing hands-on, inquiry-based STEM instruction in March. The i2 Learning professional development workshop provided teachers with project-based learning instructional strategies that will enable them to foster a 21st century learning environment in their classrooms.
“We are excited to be working with teachers from 26 different Newark schools to bring our program to 2,000 middle school students this school year.” said Ethan Berman, founder of i2 Learning. “We applaud the forward thinking of the Superintendent’s office to provide this innovative learning to the district. We can’t wait to see the projects students produce this week and are looking forward even more to bringing this to all Newark students in the coming years.”
Newark STEM Week and the professional development workshops for teachers are being funded through the generous support of the Victoria Foundation and i2 Learning. To learn more about the program and see a full list of participating schools, courses and more, please visit http://i2learning.org/newark/ and follow along on Facebook and Twitter.
ABOUT i2 LEARNING
i2 Learning partners with schools and school districts to bring immersive, hands-on STEM learning to middle school students. Working with school leaders, STEM corporations and philanthropic foundations, i2 Learning provides curriculum, teacher professional development and all materials and supplies for schools to run STEM weeks in over 30 cities across the United States and throughout the world. For more information, please visit i2learning.org.