Timely Virtual STEM Initiative Launched by Groundwork and Yonkers Public Schools

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YONKERS, NY — March 9, 2021 — In an effort to prevent local students from falling behind their peers in core STEM topics due to the pandemic, a new Groundwork Hudson Valley virtual learning initiative is now being offered to Yonkers Public School children. The timely initiative was developed through a collaboration between Groundwork Hudson Valley and Yonkers Public Schools (YPS).

Beginning this week, twenty-one 6th to 8th grade YPS classes will participate in an 8 week series of Groundwork’s STEM programs offered without charge to the schools, thanks to a generous grant from the City of Yonkers under the CDBG COVID relief program. YPS has identified and coordinated the outreach to classes where STEM programming is critically needed, and organized the participation of science teachers across more than a dozen schools.

Under the initiative, Groundwork’s award-winning Science Barge and Ecohouse curriculums have been adapted to a dynamic virtual learning experience. The 40-minute modules in eight STEM areas include engaging live-streamed, specialized teaching segments with new video presentations, a tour of the Science Barge’s off-the-grid energy and growing systems, and interactive student question and answer sessions. The programs take advantage of the on-line environment to incorporate digital resources that anticipate questions and promote student-driven inquiry. Like in-person workshops, the virtual workshops meet and exceed New York State STEM standards.

“We are so pleased to make this happen so quickly with support from Mayor Spano and other contributors,” said Executive Director, Brigitte Griswold. “Thousands of students visit our nationally-recognized STEM center each year where they interact with state-of-the-art exhibits and 21st Century technologies. When it became impossible to host programs live, finding a way to help local students keep pace with their peers academically became a priority.”

The Science Barge and Ecohouse curriculums focus on the underlying science of current issues such as climate change, food security, sustainability in the urban environment, protecting our rivers, renewable energy, and community resiliency. Designed to close the STEM proficiency gap among K-12 students from under-resourced districts, the programs meet an urgent and ongoing issue further impacted by restrictions to funding stemming from the pandemic.

“The Groundwork partnership has provided additional support for our middle school science program that is standards-based and available to our learning community through remote instruction. The program also provides professional development in STEM education for our teachers,” said Dawn Bartz, the Executive Director of Social Studies, Science, and Instructional Technology at Yonkers Public Schools. “In this dynamic virtual environment students feel like they are participating in person.”

Groundwork’s virtual STEM programs are also now available for regular bookings. More information can be found on Groundworkhv.org or by contacting Joel Rodriguez, Sustainability Education Manager at Joel@GroundworkHV.org,
914-375-2151.

.About Groundwork Hudson Valley: Groundwork Hudson Valley creates sustainable environmental change in urban neighborhoods through community-based partnerships that promote equity, youth leadership, and economic opportunity. For twenty years, Groundwork has made neighborhoods more livable and sustainable through an array of on-the-ground environmental projects that directly involve local residents. We restore rivers and build trails, parks, and playgrounds. We engage community members in all of our work – with a particular focus on educating and employing young people. For more information, contact Groundwork Hudson Valley at 914-375-2151 or visit their website at groundworkhv.org.

TribuneTimely Virtual STEM Initiative Launched by Groundwork and Yonkers Public Schools

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