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Posted: October 11, 2017

APS Gets $7.8M Grant for North Valley STEM Schools

The funding from the U.S. Department of Education will be used to create Albuquerque’s first K-12 STEM magnet school pathway.

Albuquerque Public Schools is the recipient of a $7.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for development of a K-12 STEM magnet school pathway in the North Valley, Superintendent Raquel Reedy announced Wednesday, Oct. 11.

The money will be used to convert Mission Avenue Elementary School, Garfield Middle School and Valley High School into “Engineering for the Future” schools where students will engage in hands-on, integrated Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics learning experiences.

At first, the grant will strengthen the work already begun at Mission and Garfield. For example, Mission Avenue began work on a STEM lab prior to the grant award, and the grant will help them to create a well-equipped lab. Garfield’s work in integrated project-based learning with a STEM focus will continue to grow. Valley will onboard a STEM Academy in the fall of 2018 to add to their choices for students. Over the next year, all three schools will work together to create an aligned curriculum that integrates state standards with theme objectives. 

 The three schools will be neighborhood magnets, meaning they will serve students who live within their neighborhood attendance area as well as those who apply and are accepted through the district transfer process. 

"Over the next five years Mission Avenue, Garfield and Valley students will benefit greatly from this grant. All three schools will align curriculum to guarantee a seamless transition from the earliest years all the way to graduation, using the design thinking that engineers use to creatively solve problems in all areas of the curriculum," said Deborah Elder, executive director of the APS Office of Innovation.

Students can expect hands-on integrated science, technology, engineering and mathematical lessons with access to all the tools necessary in the rapidly changing STEM field. "Engineering habits of mind, such as curiosity and resourcefulness, will be fostered in all disciplines," Elder said. 

"We’re doing everything we can at APS to seek out the best opportunities for our students," said Superintendent Reedy. "We continue to expand our catalog of school choices because we know that’s important to students and families."

Several individuals and organizations played a role in getting the federal grant by writing letters of support including Amy Tapia from Sandia National Laboratories, Dr. Patricia Sullivan from New Mexico State University’s College of Engineering, Kristin Leigh from Explora, and James Walther from the National Museum of Nuclear Science and history.

"We look forward to engaging with these organizations and others in the Albuquerque, bringing the STEM community together in new and innovative ways to lift our students to new heights," Elder said.