Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Senator Kaufman visits P.S. duPont Middle School’s STEM Program

Source: The News Journal

By Brooks Twilley

March 12, 2010

On Monday March 1st, P.S. duPont Middle School and the P.S. duPont STEM Learning Center hosted U.S. Senator Ted KAUFMAN and his staff, as well as Members of the Brandywine District School Board, including President Debra Heffernan, District Administrators including Superintendent Dr. Mark Holodick and Assistant Superintendent Judith Curtis. P.S. duPont has emerged as the leader in STEM education for the state at the middle school level. The purpose of Senator KAUFMAN’s visit was to learn more about STEM, the integration of science, technology, engineering and math curricula.

Brandywine School District’s flagship STEM program is housed at the historic and recently renovated P.S. duPont Middle School in Wilmington. During his visit, Senator KAUFMAN was escorted by members of the school’s award winning TSA (Technology Student Association).

The Senator’s first stop on the tour was to Mr. John Singer’s classroom, where the students used computer-aided design software to study bridge construction.

Next, students in Mr. Brooks Twilley’s class presented their constructed designs for safer vehicles, which were later tested on a 75 zip-line in the school’s auditorium.

The Senator then had a chance to sit down and discuss the STEM curriculum with students at P.S. who have already taken the courses. Excitement marked the tone of the students’ responses to the Senator’s questions. Girls and boys from all walks of life, represented the hundreds of students that have already completed STEM courses here this past fall.

The resounding theme to the discussion was that students are highly interested in the classwork, motivated to pursue a career in a STEM field, and thirsty to pursue further study in the school’s STEM program. All responses pointed to the unique learning atmosphere that STEM employs. It is a hands-on, inquiry based, team learning environment. Math and science standards are reinforced, and give the students a much desired context in which to apply what they are learning in their core-content classes.

Finally, Senator KAUFMAN sat down with school staff and district administrators to discuss what legislative measures are needed to support STEM programs in the state. Emphasis was placed on the existing readiness of Brandywine School District to lead the way in pushing out STEM as an initiative in the state, support for expanding the program’s capacities, as well as clearer pathways for more industry professionals like Singer and Twilley to enter the field of education.

The STEM Learning Center at P.S. comprises over 5,000 sq ft of experimental space, including a 2,200 sq ft state of the art fabrication lab. The classroom is not bound to the walls of the school however, a Solar Powered Vehicle test track has been set up behind the school, a 10x12 Hydroponic Green House to study sustainable agriculture is being erected in a courtyard, and both a Solar Array and Wind Turbine are being constructed on the grounds to explore alternative energy. Further information can be found at the program’s website: www.stemlearningcenter.com

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