The Foundation is a long-time champion of STEM initiatives - Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. One of the Foundation’s first grants automated the main library and, since then, the Foundation has funded nearly every STEM-related project piloted in the school. These include updated equipment, professional development, new curricula, and renovations aimed at improving the school’s technology, engineering, math, and science offerings. Working closely with Bronxville’s Director of Technology, the Foundation is supporting integrated STEM programs across all three schools.
A $160,000 Foundation grant in 2014 introduced Chromebooks and the Google For Education platform (G-Suite for Education) to the Elementary, Middle and High Schools bringing technology and real-time collaboration into the classroom. Then in 2017, the Foundation funded the establishment of a K-12 iSTEAM Committee to drive STEM curriculum enhancement and integration across all grades.
In the Elementary School, the K-5 coding curriculum was launched with several Foundation grants. State-of-the-art equipment for introducing young minds to coding logic and concepts was purchased, a Maker Space was built in the Elementary library, and consultants to train teachers in how to incorporate coding and making into everyday classroom activities were introduced.
Students entering Middle School take advantage of a renovated computing and maker space built and furnished with Foundation grants. Middle School students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in week-long STEM challenges through i2Learn. Each June, students tackle i2Learn problems like designing lunar colonies that challenge them to think, experiment, test and try again. One of the most popular science experiences in Middle School, funded by a 2011 Foundation grant, is Mr. Viggianni's Digital Planetarium. The planetarium allows students to view the night sky from different hemispheres and times projected onto an inflatable dome.
Two of the most exciting STEM High School course offerings grew out of Foundation grants. In 2015, High School Science teacher Justine McClellan received a Foundation grant to develop a real-world science research curriculum about the health of the Bronx River. The program has grown from two students working informally to a full-fledged independent research class. Students now take the class, present their findings to local colleges, work in collaboration with other high schools studying further downriver, and mentor Elementary students in age-appropriate research techniques. Similarly, the Advanced Physics and Engineering course was developed with several Foundation grants to design a curriculum that would simulate the computer-based design and manufacturing process in modern engineering. The Foundation funded special equipment such as 3-D printers and laser cutters, allowing students to develop, prototype, test, critique and improve their own designs.