Sept. 23, 2010 - Stamford, CT - Stamford Public Schools today announced it has received a grant to participate in HP’s Catalyst Initiative, a global social innovation program designed to develop more effective approaches to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education worldwide. Stamford Public Schools is the only public school district to win the grant, valued at $160,000. All other winners are colleges and universities from around the world.
The Stamford Public Schools will implement the HP Catalyst Award over the next two years. The project, entitled ‘The Challenge of Water Quality: China and the United States’ Sister Schools Seek Solution Together” will involve a Sister School relationship between Scofield Magnet Middle School and the Middle School Attached to Shandong University. Throughout the course of this grant, students from Stamford, CT, USA and Jinan, Shandong Province, PRC will collaborate in studying water quality in both countries. They will share results and draw conclusions about the future of water quality in their respective communities. The Stamford Public Schools will collaborate with other HP Catalyst Award recipients to share key learnings with other schools and universities throughout the world. The CSIR Meraka Institute will lead the Global Collaboratory consortium throughout the entire grant period.
As part of the program, HP is donating $6 million to 35 educational institutions, including the Stamford Public Schools, across five consortia that will use the award to explore innovations in STEM+ learning and teaching. This builds on the Obama Administration’s “Educate to Innovate” coalition designed to improve national outcomes in STEM subject matters.
• The HP Catalyst Initiative creates five global consortia in 2010, each focusing on a specific innovation theme for transforming STEM education. The five themes span: approaches to teacher preparation, online education, using technology to measure learning outcomes, and engaging students in global, collaborative learning experiences.
• Member organizations were selected through an open and competitive global call for proposals. Eligibility was based on two principal criteria: status as an accredited educational institution (that is, schools, colleges, universities, as well as nonprofit or nongovernmental educational organizations) and country of location. Eligible countries for 2010 included Brazil, China, Eqypt, France, Germany, India, Kenya, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.
A New Global Consortium
Global institutions that will be leading the five HP Catalyst consortia include Carnegie Mellon University, the Sloan Consortium, FutureLab (UK), the CSIR Meraka Institute (South Africa) and the Agastya International Foundation (India). According to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joshua Starr, “We are excited about the impact this initiative and network of consortia will have in the long term. It is fundamental that we get funding from companies like HP to be able to empower students to collaborate globally and deliver projects such as sharing water quality testing field experiences between Sister Schools, that will shape the way education and ultimately society evolves.”
Jan Rossman, principal of Scofield Magnet Middle School added, “Working with HP and joining the Catalyst Initiative has been a real game changer for our students. They’ve been given the resources to come up with new ideas, collaborate globally and challenge traditional ways of thinking. We’re really excited about the future possibilities a network like this can create.” Gabi Zedlmayer, HP’s Vice President of the Office of Global Social Innovation echoed the school district’s enthusiasm, “The HP Catalyst Initiative underscores our vision of a world where innovation and collaboration are enabled by investments in technology and education. The program is designed to help foster potential solutions to society’s most critical challenges by educating and nurturing leaders that will be critical in ensuring we develop new communities and find new ways of doing things.“
About HP Catalyst Initiative
HP is building a global network of consortia that is attempting to develop more effective approaches to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The goal is to create international collaborative “sandboxes” of innovation that will explore what the future of STEM education can look like—a future where students use their technical and creative ingenuity to address urgent social challenges in their communities and around the world. More information is available at http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/socialinnovation/catalyst.html
About Stamford Public Schools
Stamford Public Schools (SPS) is the fourth largest public school district in Connecticut with 15,000 students. SPS has a tradition of promoting global education partnerships. Over the past seven years, the district has sent more than 200 students and educators to China to participate in an educational exchange program, has hosted Chinese delegations of students, teachers, and education officials and has participated in a teacher exchange program.
About Scofield Magnet Middle School
Scofield Magnet Middle School (SMMS) is one of five public middle schools in the Stamford Public School district. It began in the fall of 1991 and today enrolls approximately 630 students. SMMS implements the Stamford Public Schools curriculum utilizing the Carnegie Foundation research guidelines on early adolescence. SMMS employs a flexible block schedule and teaches the core subject – Math, Social Studies, Science, Language Arts, and Art/Technology – in varying homogenous and heterogeneous combinations. An advisory program focuses on a different theme at each grade level: Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (Grade 6); Community Service (Grade 7); and “Preparations for an Exhibition” (Grade 8). The Grade 8 advisory emphasis serves as the capstone culminating activity for students and is recommended by the National Coalition of Essential Schools.
SMMS’s philosophy demonstrates the belief that all students need to think critically, master an appropriate body of knowledge, learn to apply knowledge in new and unfamiliar settings, and develop a constant desire to learn. Creative Math, Science, and Technology instruction remain SMMS’s guiding principle and focus. Students videoconference with their peers in multiple countries and research topics via the Internet at libraries half a world away. SMMS is a recognized New England League of Middle Schools Spotlight School.
About The Middle School Attached to Shandong University