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Engineering Takes Off on Cape Cod

July 08, 2011

In 2009, Dr. Mary Ann Lanzo, superintendent of Chatham, Massachusetts, public schools, sent six teachers and administrators to a Gateway Summer Institute at the Museum of Science, Boston to learn how to create a district-wide plan to improve STEM education. "Science and Math in Chatham have never been the same," says Lanzo. "In two years, we have emerged as a hub for STEM education on Cape Cod. None of this would have happened without the Museum's National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®) and its Gateway Project."

In April 2011 at the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center, educators and school leaders from 13 Southeastern Massachusetts school districts gathered to find out about Chatham's successful district-wide implementation of engineering and technology curricula. In May Ioannis Miaoulis, Museum of Science president and director and NCTL founder, underscored the importance of introducing K-12 engineering nationwide in an address to Cape Cod superintendents.

As a result of Chatham's leadership and the growing demand for STEM, the NCTL will hold its first Cape Cod Gateway District Institute at Chatham High School August 16-18 for six new district teams. Gateway Institutes assist school districts in developing strategic action plans to implement technology and engineering in their districts.

Chatham now uses five units of the NCTL's elementary curriculum, has created two discrete middle school STEM courses, three high school engineering courses, and hosted two STEM educator conferences. Students are eagerly 'failing forward," says Lanzo -- in STEM-speak, learning the value of failure by using critical thinking skills to work through hands-on experiential projects to solve engineering problems. She says, "This June, more students than ever have indicated engineering as their college focus."

Originating in Massachusetts, the Gateway Project has been replicated across the United States as a model to build leadership capacity for technological literacy. The Gateway community involves over 300 educational leaders representing 65 urban, suburban, and rural school districts in developing a strategic plan to implement technology and engineering programs at all grade levels. For more information, contact gateway@mos.org (617)-589-3100.

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The Museum of Science, Boston

  1 Science Park, Boston, MA 02114  phone: 617-723-2500   information@mos.org