“Everyone learns differently, and many students don’t thrive in a traditional classroom setting,” said Schwartz, whose organization, Solutions Community Development Corp. Inc., runs the ASSET program for at-risk, low-income and minority students in Holyoke, Mass. “This grant from Microsoft will enable us to expand the ASSET model so other school groups can do what we’ve done and provide more students with a real-world setting that they are motivated to achieve in. These kids are getting life skills that will enable them to market themselves in the world.”
Recipients of the Massachusetts Education and Innovation Grants will each receive from $50,000 to $150,000 over the next year to further develop their programs. The grants are designed to support innovative education programs in Massachusetts in the area of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), with a special focus on after-school learning. The grants are funded by Microsoft’s U.S. Partners in Learning program, aimed at providing educators and schools with the tools and support they need to deliver on the promise of technology. In addition to being innovative, after-school programs focused on STEM learning, programs that win Massachusetts Education and Innovation Grants are scalable, collaborative, sustainable, sensitive to issues of equity, and successfully embrace the use of technology in teaching and learning.
The other winners of the Massachusetts Education and Innovation Grants are as follows:
The Cohasset Center for Student Coastal Research (CSCR), in collaboration with Cohasset Middle High School, runs the Watershed Academy, an after-school program that engages students in hands-on learning, focused on a STEM curriculum. The grant money will enable Cohasset to double the number of Watershed Academy students and sustain the program year-round.
Quinsigamond Community College Foundation Inc. will develop an after-school and summer Advanced Robotics Intensive for up to 300 underserved students, grades 6 through 12, in 18 Worcester schools. The students will have the opportunity to participate on a robotics team, compete in tournaments, witness robotics at work in local companies, and receive career mentoring from industry professionals. This program will also give 18 Worcester teachers the opportunity to receive professional development in preparation for leading these after-school robotics intensives.
Northeastern University’s Bootstrap program will leverage its existing and successful math and technology curriculum and integrate into Citizen Schools’ existing after-school network.