Friday, September 6, 2013 -- Governor Deval Patrick today joined Secretary of Education Matthew Malone to tour the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Academy for Middle School Engineers at Auburn Middle School. The STEM Academy is one of 47 Innovation Schools in the Commonwealth, created in 2010 after Governor Patrick signed into law the historic Achievement Gap Act.
"In this global economy, it is critical that we expose students to STEM education to prepare for the jobs of the 21st century," said Governor Patrick. "Programs like the STEM Academy for Middle School Engineers in Auburn are another example of how targeted investments in education will expand opportunity and create long term growth."
"These types of programs are the future of education in Massachusetts," said Secretary Malone. "We know the jobs of tomorrow will likely require specific skills related to STEM. By giving our students early exposure to these types of experiences we are ensuring they will be ready to compete in the 21st century."
The STEM Academy for Middle School Engineers is located within Auburn Middle School and helps to further align the school district with local and state STEM initiatives. The program serves approximately 100 students and provides increased STEM opportunities for all students through experiential learning that emphasizes the link between the STEM core subjects, as well as provides opportunities beyond the classroom for those who excel.
"The Patrick Administration has long demonstrated a tremendous commitment to education and we were honored to show the Governor and Secretary Malone the innovative, engaging and stem-based activities we provide to our students as a result of the Innovation Schools grant funding," said Auburn Superintendent Maryellen Brunelle. "Our students deserve the very best we have to offer them and through the Governor's support, as well as the support of Secretary Malone and the Massachusetts Legislature, we are committed to doing just that."
A signature component of Governor Patrick's Achievement Gap Act of 2010, Innovation Schools are in-district, charter-like public schools that use inventive strategies and creative approaches to education while keeping school funding within districts. Innovation Schools utilize greater autonomy and flexibility with regard to curriculum, staffing, budget, schedule/calendar, professional development and district policies, and many are organized around specific themes and curriculum such as STEM, dual language instruction, International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, alternative education opportunities, virtual platforms and wraparound services.
As part of his Administration's efforts to align education with workforce development, Governor Patrick established the STEM Advisory Council by Executive Order No. 513 in October 2009, to increase coordination and collaboration among existing STEM programs and resources. In addition to being rated number one by the U.S. Department of Education on the nationwide Race to the Top Competition, Massachusetts has also been recognized by the National Governor's Association's Center for Best Practices, Change the Equation and Innovate+Education as a top STEM state. Congressman Joe Kennedy currently chairs the STEM Advisory Council.
In his Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) budget, Governor Patrick proposed more than $1.45 million for innovation schools in order to continue funding planning and implementation grants for the schools, as well as funds to support the newly launched Innovation School Network and technical assistance to schools. The final FY14 state budget included $1 million in funding for Innovation Schools, which will support planning and implementation grants for new schools, as well as competitive enhancement grants for established Innovation Schools and academies like the STEM Innovation Academy for Middle School Engineers.
In FY13, Auburn Middle School received a $10,000 planning grant and a $35,000 implementation grant from Race to the Top funds to support the STEM Innovation Academy's planning and first year.