Boston STEM Week and Roxbury Latin School: A Proud Partnership
Roxbury Latin is proud to be playing a significant role in Boston STEM Week. This remarkable one-week program, which runs from October 3-7, is transforming 36 middle school classrooms in Boston (including 30 public schools) into learning labs, where students are working in teams to solve real-world problems that encourage hands-on experimentation and critical thinking.
This past summer, Roxbury Latin’s campus was the training ground for more than 200 Boston Public School teachers who are implementing the Boston STEM Week projects with their sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students this week. The two-day professional development program, presented by instructors from i2 Learning, prepared teachers across all subject areas for leading STEM projects in their classrooms.
For five consecutive days this week, regularly scheduled classes in the 36 participating schools are being replaced with immersive, hands-on STEM curriculum developed by MIT and other leading STEM organizations. (“STEM” is an acronym for the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.) 6,500 middle school students are becoming scientists and engineers, collaborating on projects that range from “Building A Lunar Colony,” “Digital Game Design” and “Building an Interactive Friendly Monster” to “Kinetic Sculpture,” “Urban Farming,” and “Surgical Techniques.”
i2 Learning and Boston STEM Week are both the brainchildren of RL alumnus Ethan Berman ’79, who believes that the school-age years are crucial to the development of children’s skills and interest in STEM disciplines. Mr. Berman approached Roxbury Latin back in 2012 as a partner in his vision for a camp. The following summer, i2 Camps launched in Boston, New York, and New Jersey. Today i2 Learning has expanded to include summer camps in 23 locations across the US as well as Jordan and Kenya, and STEM immersion weeks in more than 60 schools, with more joining each month. Mr. Berman served on RL’s board of trustees from 2010 to 2016.
On Monday, October 3, Headmaster Kerry Brennan traveled to the Oliver H. Perry K-8 School in South Boston to attend Boston STEM Week’s kickoff event, at which Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang were featured speakers. Following their opening remarks, Mr. Brennan joined other key sponsors to tour classrooms where STEM projects were getting underway.
“Ethan Berman was concerned about the kind of science education his own children were receiving, and he correctly thought it should be more hands-on and investigative,” said Mr. Brennan. “We had the same interests at RL. As a Trustee, Ethan knew that and also that I was interested in expanding RL’s educational footprint beyond our own students and beyond the school year. Thanks to Ethan’s energy and vision, i2 was born and we were proud to be one of the three inaugural sites for their summer programs. We were even more enthusiastic about forging stimulating partnerships and are pleased to have played a part in enabling the Boston Public Schools to offer this remarkably innovative experience to all their students.”