STEM Academy receives go-ahead from Youngkin

Published 8:47 pm Monday, June 3, 2024

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Gov. Glenn Youngkin and the Virginia Board of Education approved two lab schools in May. One will be located at Booker T. Washington Elementary School in the fall of 2025.

In collaboration with Old Dominion University and Suffolk Public Schools, the STEM Academy at Booker T. Washington Elementary School is Old Dominion University’s proposed lab school centering on a “comprehensive integration of STEM education” that will be incorporated into hands-on STEM learning experiences for elementary school students to help cultivate a new generation of workers with STEM-based knowledge and skills for future careers. The academy’s listed goals include designing an innovative STEM learning environment for students and creating a learning hub for preparing and developing educators as well as providing a research setting for both university and K-12 educators.

In a statement, SPS Chief Academic Officer Dr. Okema Branch says that SPS is excited to partner with ODU to create the STEM Academy at Booker T. Washington Elementary School.

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“Together, we will work closely to enhance students’ educational experiences in Suffolk Public Schools,” Branch said. “Our Lab School will provide hands-on collaboration and engagement in real-world community issues and projects to facilitate cross-curricular instruction and exposure to new learning opportunities.” 

Branch also notes that by using a design-thinking framework and approach to learning, problem solving and collaboration, the lab school’s instruction will become a blueprint for future leaders and innovators.

“By nurturing and helping to cultivate a world of new possibilities for our young minds, we will ignite creativity and curiosity among our students and inspire them to become leaders in STEM fields and beyond,” she said.