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Educators, high-tech industry leaders and non-profits partner to bring intensive sci-tech focus to East San Jose elementary school; School is renamed to reflect new curriculum
SAN JOSE, CA – As leader of San Jose’s Franklin-McKinley School District, John Porter can do the math: Absent significant exposure to science and technology, students’ futures hang in the balance. But, ever the education innovator, Porter has a solution in a unique collective of educators, the high-tech industry and non-profits.
Come fall, Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Elementary School students will be the beneficiary of a science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) concentration, the core of which is designed by the first-ever partnership between the school district, Hitachi Data Systems, Wyse Technology, CORAL After-School Program of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara and The Tech Museum. The school has been similarly renamed Robert F. Kennedy School: A STEM Focus School to reflect the curriculum change.
“We are very excited about transforming Kennedy School. This will go way beyond just having students spend more time in math or science, but actually having students applying the concepts in math/science in real-life situations through the wonderful labs and projects available from The Tech Museum, and having our technology partners work with teams of students and teachers as mentors and coaches,” Superintendent Porter said. “This is really a cognitive apprenticeship model at its best. Schools in Singapore and Finland, watch out!”
The aggressive plan to immerse the school’s nearly 700 students in science-technology education includes:
• Five Wyse cloud PCs for the students and one Wyse mobile cloud PC for the teacher have been implemented in each RFK classroom, totaling 165. Wyse has also provided professional development for the teachers;
• Commitment to provide all students two visits per year to The Tech Museum (including transportation); The museum will also provide on-campus activities twice per year and offer teacher training on how to use design-challenge learning activities in class;
• The participation of all RFK 5th graders in The Tech Challenge – the museum’s signature design-challenge learning competition for 5th-12th graders – with Wyse and Hitachi Data Systems providing team advisors
• Hosting RFK’s annual science fair at The Tech Museum or one of the industry partner sites;
• Catholic Charities offers CORAL, an academic based after-school program for over 150 students daily at Kennedy School. Through this partnership, students will also participate in STEM activities complementing core day instruction.
The partnership symbolizes the mission and vision of the museum, said President Tim Ritchie, who added that he was himself inspired by the potential to have a profound impact on the local community. “Ours is a world that increasingly relies on technology to solve some of the most formidable problems in health, education and the environment, among other areas,” Ritchie said. “Considering what is at stake, it is imperative that we work in partnership with others to invigorate innovation and inspire learning locally, nationally and globally to make a positive difference.”
Hitachi Data Systems was already working with the southeast San Jose school to provide funding for an intensive intervention program for English learners during Spring Break. The broader, school-wide efforts will have even broader, long-term results said Greg Coplans, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Hitachi Data Systems.
“The foundation of the future of Silicon Valley is built on science, technology, engineering and math education,” Coplans said. “That’s why Hitachi Data Systems is especially pleased to join in this effort that will enable success for our community’s children.”
Ultimately, the collaboration is expected to prove that through technology, cross-institutional involvement, family enthusiasm and a change in the model of class instruction, students will show increased interest in school, perform better in STEM-related studies and pursue STEM careers, organizers said.
“Founded over 30 years ago, Wyse Technology, the global leader in cloud client computing, has long championed the ideal of making a difference in the lives of children,” said Michael Arrieta, Channel Manager – State and Local Government and Education at Wyse. “The new partnership with Franklin-McKinley School District will ensure a significant impact on achievement and will enhance the students’ learning experience for years to come.”
STEM education will open many doors for students who represent a new workforce of problem-solvers, innovators, and inventors who are self-reliant and able to think logically, said Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County’s Sara Reyes, After-school Program Director/Interim Division Director.
“Through this STEM collaboration both students and staff will have the opportunity to learn and grow together,” Reyes added.
About Catholic Charities of Santa Clara
Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County is working to end poverty by helping people get the tools they need to become more self-reliant. Catholic Charities offers a hand up rather than a hand out through a wide range of services. The agency serves more than 39,000 people from all cultures and beliefs each year throughout Santa Clara County. Catholic Charities offers an academic based after-school program for over 150 students daily at Kennedy School. Through this partnership, students will also be participating in STEM activities complementing core day instruction. For more information, visit www.catholiccharitiesscc.org .
About Franklin-McKinley School District
The mission of Franklin-McKinley School District is to make sure that all those who enter the elementary grades leave the 8th grade with the skills and knowledge needed to enter a college preparatory curriculum in high school without remediation and, once having achieved that, have an opportunity to pursue, at their own choice, either a program preparing them for college and/or a highly skilled career upon graduation from high school.
About The Tech Museum
The Tech Museum is a hands-on technology and science museum for people of all ages and backgrounds. The museum—located in the Capital of Silicon Valley —is a non-profit learning resource established to engage people in exploring and experiencing technologies affecting their lives. Through programs such as The Tech Challenge presented by Cisco, our annual team-design competition for youth, and internationally renowned programs such as The Tech Awards presented by Applied Materials, Inc., The Tech Museum endeavors to inspire the innovator in everyone.
Director Public Relations