Pittsburgh region to benefit from two new STEM education centers
The shortage of science, technology, engineering and math talent—known as STEM—in the nation will receive a
major boost with the creation of two STEM Centers here.
The Pittsburgh Public Schools’ new Science and Technology Academy magnet school plans to open in the fall of 2009. Another center is in the preliminary
phase, a $40 million vocational career center that will replace the Fayette Area Vocational-Technical School in Georges Township.
The center would be built in the University Technology Park next to Penn State Fayette, the Eberly Campus.
The centers, if the Fayette center is approved, will be two of 100 secondary schools promoting
science education nationwide through the federal Stem Center Grant Program.
This month Pittsburgh launched a new website to assist parents of students who are considering applying to the magnet
program. (To view the website, click here.)
The Pittsburgh program, Dream, Discover, Design, is available to students who live within the boundaries of the city
school district. The academy will be located in the Frick building in Oakland.
In an effort to attract a diverse pool
of passionate students, the district has devised an innovative “weighted lottery” that it hopes will become a
model for similar schools across the country.
“We want to create a school that supports students as they become
the best in these fields, students with a passion who are not necessarily the highest achievers in their own schools,”
explains Samuel Franklin, project manager. “It’s still a lottery, anyone can apply, but if you meet certain criteria
you can enter your application additional times.”
Ron Sheba, manager
of the Fay-Penn Economic Development Council, notes: “What will make this development unique is it will not only address STEM education, but it will be a STEM
center for research and training as well as offer the business sector a space for business development and training.”