ELIZABETH –On Oct. 13, Elizabeth Public Schools held a kickoff event at John E. Dwyer Technology Academy, celebrating the launch of the Oyster Project. Elizabeth Public Schools has become one of 25 secondary school districts in the United States to receive the 2009 Hewlett Packard (HP) Innovations in Education grant.
This award package of HP technology, funding and professional services is valued at more than $265,000. HP, a leader in the technology industry, sponsors the grant as part of their commitment to education and desire to seek new ways to transform the learning environment in ways that positively affect student achievement. The two institutions will collaborate in an effort to enhance Elizabeth Public Schools’ mathematics and science curriculum, through the use of technology.
The HP grant funds the Oyster Project which is a multi-disciplinary approach to learning science and mathematics, while using technology to accelerate the learning process. A select group of ninth graders are working with the Elizabeth River/Arthur Kill Watershed Association, New York/New Jersey Baykeeper, Future City, Inc., Army Corps of Engineers and United States Coast Guard to create an oyster farm and learn about the history of the waterways around the New York/New Jersey metropolitan areas, the relationship between nature and science, and the impact of a community on natural resources. They will cultivate the oyster farm, monitor growth, document water and ecosystem changes, collect data, and share information with fellow students, community groups and legislators.
Superintendent of Schools, Pablo Muñoz said, “It is with great pleasure that I extend the full support of the Elizabeth Public Schools in welcoming HP Innovations in Education to our classrooms. We are committed to providing every student an excellent educational experience, and we are looking forward to having Hewlett Packard’s support in meeting this goal.”
The research obtained from this project will engage the participants in the use of data collection and analysis processes, mathematical equations, biology, chemistry, and history. It will also help to rebalance and restore Elizabeth’s waterway ecosystem, while creating a new curriculum for future ninth grade students.
“Innovation is key to expanding education opportunity – and HP is privileged to collaborate with educators around the world who are committed to exploring the exciting possibilities that exist at the intersection of teaching, learning, and technology,” said Jim Vanides, Worldwide Program Manager for HP Global Social Investments. “Emerging evidence from the last five years is very positive – excellent instruction combined with the right technologies is measurably improving student academic success.”
“This grant will allow our students to engage in real-life learning experiences that are relevant not only to their current coursework, but also to the needs of a 21st century society,” noted Elizabeth Board of Education President, Francisco González.
“This is a very exciting partnership for Elizabeth Public Schools. This experience will help us to create models of learning throughout the district that inspire our team members to extend their subject matter beyond the parameters of their curricula,” added Elizabeth Board of Education Vice President, Carlos Trujillo.
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