A recently announced project will bring new resources for studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to Geneva City Schools students. Geneva City Schools, Boys and Girls Club of Geneva, and Geneva 2020 are teaming up with a Utah-based company to provide online courses and locally-based mentoring to students in grades 3 through 8. Geneva City Schools Superintendent Trina Newton found the program appealing because it brings additional expertise to their students.
“Elementary teachers are extremely gifted, however, most of the time they spent in school for education is around literacy and reading. It’s not in the sciences. So, they don’t have an expertise there, which is why we don’t see most elementary teachers going in depth. So, we were looking for something to bring science in and we do have a wonderful science program a North Street School and at West Street School, but we wanted to expand it.”
Boys and Girls Club of Geneva Executive Director Chris Lavin says his organization is taking advantage of their ongoing relationship with the city schools and contributing their existing technology resources while looking for ways to expand them.
“You’ll see, we hope, by the end of this year, kids who will be working on a STEM project, a 20-week online course in school come to us in the afternoon with our computers and our help and continue with their project as they see fit. We’ve applied for a grant with the school district in partnership where we’ll be having laptop computers and hotspots that will be able to be checked out and taken home, so that kids will be able to work on these kinds of projects at their own speed and their own way in their own locations as well.”
Newton sees that ability to work outside the classroom at a student’s own pace as a way of redefining the school day.
“I personally believe that learning takes place 24-7. So, learning should take place not just in the school setting, but for this particular program that we’re looking at, it is an online module. You have to have adults, teachers, TAs, the college mentors as facilitators to help the children through the module. It’s in-depth. It’s hands on and it’s project-based. At the end of between 15 and 20 weeks there will be a project, but they’re not going to get it done in 40-minutes in a school day.”
Much of the mentoring will come from Hobart and William Smith College students as part of the Geneva 2020 partnership. The company providing the curriculum is Utah-based Tech Trep Academy.