Wednesday, January 29, 2014

AT&T and the NEA Foundation Award Urban Farming Program Promoting STEM Learning For 1,500 NYC Students

AT&T & NEA Foundation extend program to more local students; develop curriculum that can be replicated nationwide


NEW YORK, NY (January 29, 2014) -  AT&T and the NEA Foundation are teaming up to extend a popular urban farming program that advances STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning in New York City public schools through a two-year contribution that  includes $98,000 that will directly impact the program. The program, Project Eats (known as PE), is an initiative of the Active Citizens Project that builds farms on school grounds and gets students involved in the farms’ development and care.


PE will be offered in five city high schools that previously did not offer the program, potentially reaching more than 1,500 students from fall 2013 through fall 2015. The program will provide more students with the skills and knowledge needed for 21st century jobs and will develop curriculum and classroom content that teachers can use to begin similar programs in other urban schools nationwide.


PE was selected because of its early success in advancing STEM education among low-income and minority students. The program is one of two awarded nationally as part of a $300,000 total contribution from AT&T that will also support the development of case studies and evaluations of the two programs. The second program that was selected is the Urban Schools Aquaponics Initiative in Milwaukee, WI.


“Projects like these empower educators to develop and use proven practices to deliver rigorous, engaging learning experiences that we know excite and interest underrepresented student groups in STEM,” said Harriet Sanford, president and CEO of the NEA Foundation.


“AT&T is thrilled to help expand Project Eats and build on our work to advance STEM learning in New York City’s indoor and outdoor classrooms,” said Marissa Shorenstein, New York State President, AT&T. “As STEM skills are becoming a necessary aspect of an increasing number of industries and jobs, it is important to teach our students how those skills are applied to different fields. This program will expose New York City students to a unique learning environment, showing the versatility of STEM education and how it is used in almost any sector of the workforce.”


Research indicates that underperformance in STEM education arises from systemic issues: teachers with little professional support; inadequate alignment of standards and curriculum; and insufficient understanding of the relevance to students’ lives about the need to achieve in these subjects. Both projects will focus on providing more personal, engaging, coordinated, and consistent STEM learning.


PE builds farms on school grounds enabling students to work with experienced farmers to grow, package, and market their products as they acquire skills and expertise in homemade product manufacturing, business and marketing, promotion, and sales. With the new funding, PE will be offered in five new high schools, potentially reaching more than 1,500 students. The contribution will also be used to standardize a four-year curriculum, with more focus on STEM learning, as well as experiential and peer-to-peer learning.


Formative and summative evaluation will be employed throughout the funding period to assess progress in the New York City and Milwaukee programs to identify areas for improvement, gather evidence of success, and enable future replication in schools across the country, with the goal of increasing high school students’ engagement, interest, and excellence in STEM.


Read more about this work in the NEA Foundation report, "Harnessing the Potential of Innovative STEM Education Programs: Stories of Collaboration, Connectedness and Empowerment." Watch videos to hear from students and educators involved in the Milwaukee project.


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About Philanthropy at AT&T:AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its philanthropic initiatives, AT&T has a long history of supporting projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; and address community needs. In 2012, more than $131 million was contributed through corporate-, employee- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs. © 2014 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies.


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About The NEA Foundation
The NEA Foundation is a public charity supported by contributions from educators' dues, corporate sponsors, and others who support public education initiatives.We partner with education unions, districts, and communities to create powerful, sustainable improvements in teaching and learning. Visit www.neafoundation.org for more information. Find us on Facebook and Twitter, and visit our blog.

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