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Allentown School District, Da Vinci Science Center Partner on New STREAM Academy | WDIY Local News

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Allentown School District

A new educational partnership aims to bring state-of-the-art learning experiences to Allentown elementary students.

The Allentown School District and the Da Vinci Science Center are working together to establish a new campus at the center’s new downtown Allentown facility.

According to a release, the new Da Vinci Science Center at PPL Pavilion will be designated an official second campus for students at Central Elementary School, called the Allentown School District STREAM Academy.

The district approved a six-year contract with the nonprofit on Thursday to work on the initiative.

At the new campus, students will receive learning experiences in the fields of science, technology, reading, engineering, art, and mathematics, or STREAM.

The release said the STREAM concept is transdisciplinary, promoting the coordination of topics around central themes and encouraging students to explore concepts.

The ASD STREAM Academy will also expand opportunities for families to participate in their children’s learning, and for students and teachers to connect with relevant industry and community resources.

It also offers opportunities to expand the district’s science teaching and learning, as well as for customized field trips, a career pathway certificate program, internships, and more.

ASD Superintendent Dr. Carol Birks said in a statement that, “Central Elementary students will have ongoing access to immersive exhibit experiences, state-of-the-art classrooms, and STEAM professionals.”

Birks said the academy’s design was based on an “asset-driven positive youth development model” which fosters students’ cognitive development and teaches necessary life skills.

“Most importantly, the ASD STREAM Academy is an incredible opportunity for our students and teachers to have access to the latest educational resources to support next generation science learning and new technology developments and experts in their fields in a stimulating learning environment,” she added.

The release said the new Da Vinci Science Center is located two blocks from Central Elementary School and within a one-mile walking distance for 52,000 city residents, 43% of which are Allentown School District students.

Lin Erickson, Executive Director and CEO of the Da Vinci Science Center, said the new campus was the “natural next step in furthering the furthering the established partnership between the district and Da Vinci Science Center,” and that they were “reimagining the role science centers can play in formal education.”

All ASD families will also receive a free annual membership to visit the science center, which is expected to open in the spring of 2024.

The new facility will include 30,000 square feet of exhibit space, a digital gallery, immersive walk-through human body exhibit, a recreation of the Pocono Ravine with North American river otters, and a traveling exhibits gallery.

(Original air-date: 6/11/23)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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