SOURCE: The Tech Museum of Innovation

The Tech Museum of Innovation

July 25, 2016 13:35 ET

STEM Learning Program for Title I Educators Celebrates Milestone in Bay Area

The Tech Museum of Innovation Launches Graduation Year of Its First Tech Academies of Innovation Cohort

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwired - July 25, 2016) - Dozens of Bay Area educators are hard at work this summer designing engineering lessons as part of The Tech Academies of Innovation, which will see its first class of teachers complete the unique three-year program this spring.

The Tech Academies, a program offered by The Tech Museum of Innovation in downtown San Jose, is building networks in Title I schools to help teachers incorporate more engineering and design challenge learning into their classrooms -- and help their colleagues do the same. The program began in 2014 with one cohort of 20 educators paired with after-school programs, and it is now flourishing with 80 educators from 12 schools in eight Bay Area school districts. The program will have a direct impact on 3,000 students by the end of the year and has the potential to reach 54,000 students in the next ten years.

"What I love about this is that it's not a gimmicky program touting a quick-fix solution," said Sherry Burch, a science teacher at Monroe Middle School in San Jose. "It's a sustained effort and highly adaptive, so I can take what I'm learning and apply it to any subject matter. My kids will walk away with stronger problem-solving skills, teamwork and the most important lesson, learning from failure."

The Tech Academies fills an important need as schools scramble to adjust to new state and national science standards. Every year Tech Academies educators participate in an intensive two-week summer institute, during which they create engineering design lessons that meet Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. The lessons are designed to be quick and easy, but also repeated, which encourages students to take risks and learn more every time they test a new design.

"We're not just making an impact on educators," said Christina O'Guinn, Director of School and After School Partnerships at The Tech. "These educators are bringing problem-solving, engineering-focused thinking to their students as well as other educators in their school districts and after-school organizations. This system-wide approach will unlock opportunities for the next generation of Silicon Valley leaders."

The Summer Institute is a key element of the program, bringing educators together to learn about Design Challenge Learning and develop their own hands-on lessons. The educators will show off the fun and engaging projects at The Tech on Thursday, July 28, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Themes for this year's Summer Institute includes creating simple machines like bridges, slides and ziplines to cross a ravine. Media are invited to attend.

More information: thetech.org/techacademies

The Tech Academies of Innovation
2014-2017 cohort

  • Lairon College Preparatory Academy with Catholic Charities (Franklin McKinley School District)
  • Meadows Elementary with Catholic Charities (Franklin McKinley School District)
  • Monroe Middle School with The Crew (Campbell Union School District)
  • Ocala Middle School with City Year (Alum Rock Union School District)

2015-2018 cohort

  • Dahl Elementary School with Catholic Charities (Franklin McKinley School District)
  • Escuela Popular Charter School with Boys and Girls Club (Alum Rock School District)
  • P.A. Walsh STEAM Academy with YMCA (Morgan Hill Unified School District)
  • Washington Elementary with Catholic Charities and Sacred Heart Community Service (San Jose Unified School District)

2016-2019 cohort

  • Britton Middle School with MESA (Morgan Hill Unified School District)
  • Brownell Middle School with Cal-SOAP (Gilroy Unified School District)
  • Ida Jew Academies with Mount Pleasant After School (Mount Pleasant Elementary School District)
  • Julia Baldwin Elementary with City of San Jose ROCK and BASE (Oak Grove School District)

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