Project boosts STEM education at Ann Richards Middle School

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Students, staff and project partners celebrated three new mobile carts that will enhance STEM education at Dallas ISD’s Ann Richards Middle School on Friday, Sept. 15.

STEM is shorthand for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, disciplines that are increasingly involved in many current and emerging careers.

The carts, which support student use of Chromebooks in class, were made possible through a partnership between FC Dallas and Southern New Hampshire University. Specifically, the devices will be used for computer science lessons that include Algebra I, coding and robotics programming.

Principal Francine Taylor said the gift is an important one for a school in her community.

“Being in Pleasant Grove, it’s all about access and opportunity,” Taylor said. “If we give our kids access and opportunity, they will change the world.”

Oswaldo Alvarenga, executive director of Dallas ISD’s STEM Department, said that initiatives that bring technology to students is crucial, as the city is poised to become the largest technology hub in Texas. He said that within three years, every district elementary school will include a computer science component for students, starting in pre-kindergarten.

“Imagine that a student in the third grade will have had three years of computer science under their belt,” he said.

Steve Thiel of Southern New Hampshire University announced a full scholarship for Ann Richards teacher Christie Lewis, who will take courses online.

Ann Richards students participated in a STEM activity with FC Dallas defender Aaron Guillen and midfielder Jacori Hayes, using a computer program to score a goal in a simulated soccer game.

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