This article appeared in the Rochester Business Journal: City Skills brings STEM experiences to city youth by Gino Fanelli
“Amid a small crowd of city school youth at the Rochester MUSEUM and Science Center, Mayor Lovely Warren stands close to Douglass student Smiley Samuel, the pair carefully manipulating construction paper into a makeshift windmill. Eventually settling on the right blade positions, the pair place their creation in front of a set of billowing fans. It remains still, the Mayor plucking it back up and moving back to the drawing board.
Samuel and her fellow classmates are part of a pilot program dubbed “Technology and Careers in Rochester Powered by AT&T,” a program aimed at inspiring youth into careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Financed heavily by AT&T, the program is a collaboration between the museum, the Rochester City School District, the Finger Lakes STEM Hub and the Seneca Waterways Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Included in the project is the City Living course; a five-week program immersing 12 students who are one science, math or elective credit shy of graduation into STEM-based field trips and hands-on experience.
“What we can do here is build curiosity and interest in STEM fields,” said Director of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Joe Marinelli. “This gives students a chance to gain hands-on experience in construction, manufacturing and energy power in Rochester.””
This is a heavily financed collaboration between Strong Museum, RCSD, Finger lakes STEM hub and the Boy Scouts of America.
Is it a good program, absolutely.
However, this type of learning used to take place in schools at the elementary level of education serving entire classrooms of students.
Xerox engineers worked with students at the Fourth grade level serving hundreds of students until becoming a summer camp and Saturday school program for just a few.
Hands-on, experiential learning should begin in kindergarten along with art and music and continue throughout the educational experience. Waiting until middle and high school to shore-up the educational success of a few does little to benefit all children.
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