June 28, 2021

Baker-Polito Administration Announces $3.4 Million to Support STEM Equipment and Teacher Professional Development

Twenty-seven awards will support new and expanded curricula at 93-plus schools, serving more than 38,200 students, and more than 730 teachers receiving professional development

Today, the Baker-Polito Administration and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) announced 27 grants totaling $3.4 million through the MLSC’s STEM Equipment and Professional Development Grant program. The awards will support new and expanded curricula at 93-plus schools, serving more than 38,200 students, and providing more than 730 teachers with professional development. Lt. Governor Karyn Polito made the announcement of the funding during her remarks at the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA) annual conference.

“Our administration is committed to supporting the next generation of the life sciences workforce by engaging Massachusetts students in hands-on learning in essential STEM curricula,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “With partners like the Life Sciences Center, we are continuing to expand opportunities for students to be exposed early and often to STEM, supporting their development now as learners and as future members of our thriving life sciences workforce.”

These funds will prepare students for life sciences careers by enabling schools to purchase lab equipment, materials, supplies, and technology, as well as provide teacher professional development that supports implementation of advanced curricula and standards alignment. Applicants were required to be either a vocational-technical high school; a public middle school or high school with at least 25 percent of its student body classified by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as “economically disadvantaged”; a public middle school or high school in a Gateway City; or non-profit curriculum provider delivering STEM curriculum and professional development to schools that meet any of the above-stated criteria.

“The Baker-Polito Administration remains a steadfast partner to our educational stakeholders across the Commonwealth in expanding access to STEM equipment, curriculum, and professional development,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as Co-Chair of the MLSC Board of Directors. “We are incredibly proud this funding will enable schools to educate students in real-world scenarios and on state-of-the-art equipment that will prepare them for career opportunities in the life sciences and expand the talent pipeline employers need to grow.”

“These awards will increase student achievement and interest in STEM, while also amplifying awareness of life sciences careers for Massachusetts students,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan, who also serves as MLSC Board Co-Chair. “Throughout the Commonwealth, students can explore a career in the life sciences and broader innovation economy, closing achievement and opportunity gaps, and strengthening our diverse STEM workforce pipeline.”

“I am proud to lead an organization that has been a global leader in supporting the growth of a diverse talent pipeline through a robust workforce development strategy,” said MLSC President and CEO Kenn Turner. “We must continue to meet the moment for our future life sciences workforce. The students supported through these awards are the top, rising talent we have to offer in terms of retaining our leadership post in the life sciences. They’re our strength, our success, and our future.”

Among this year’s grant recipients is Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical High School in Danvers, receiving nearly $110,000 to enable implementation of a biomanufacturing curriculum. The new equipment will allow them to develop and implement hands-on instruction on the maintenance and use of a bioreactor to control culture parameters for production, paralleling current manufacturing processes in industry, such as the production of proteins for medical treatment. Additionally, hundreds of middle school students will be invited to visit the lab and use the equipment as part of their biotechnology student outreach program with Lynn, Peabody, and Salem public schools.

Quincy Public Schools, with its initial grant from the MLSC, completed the implementation of its high school engineering program and put state-of-the-art equipment and technology directly into the hands of all middle school students across the district. This year, the district will receive nearly $225,000 to implement, in partnership with Quincy College, an inquiry-based, hands-on, lab-focused curriculum for 2,200 students through investment in professional development for 250 teachers and capital equipment and technology upgrades for 21 classrooms across five middle schools.

A first-time MLSC grant recipient, Leominster Public Schools was awarded $226,851 to implement the Project Lead The Way Biomedical Sciences curriculum at both of the city’s high schools. The grant will allow the district to offer professional development for twelve teachers and provide an estimated 380 students with an inquiry, project-based, and hands-on learning using such equipment as PCR machines, incubators, microcentrifuges, thermal cyclers, and DNA analysis kits.

Since 2012, the MLSC has awarded $21.5 million to more than 240 high schools and middle schools throughout Massachusetts. This includes more than $20 million in funding for equipment and supplies and nearly $1.2 million for teacher professional development. These awards have leveraged nearly $3 million in cash and in-kind matching funds from industry and non-profit partners.

MLSC STEM equipment and professional development funding has served schools in 13 out of 14 Massachusetts counties and all 26 Gateway Cities, including all 39 vocational-technical high schools with a life sciences program. Including the awards announced today, 33 percent of all Massachusetts public middle and high school students have access to MLSC-funded equipment.

Full List of Awardees:

Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School$84,139.00
Boston Public Schools$108,487.00
Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School$95,683.04
Brockton Public Schools$77,362.00
Dracut High School$63,541.00
Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical District$119,300.00
Everett Public Schools$90,976.00
Fall River Public Schools$176,428.82
Foxborough Regional Charter School$46,086.00
Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School$51,533.00
Haverhill Public Schools$62,715.00
Holyoke Public Schools$189,532.84
i2 Learning Foundation Inc$146,641.15
Leominster Public Schools$226,851.00
Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation$168,038.89
Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School$109,988.00
New Bedford Public Schools$240,000.00
Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School$44,931.00
Project Lead The Way$235,306.00
Prospect Hill Academy Charter School$50,000.00
Quaboag Regional School District$101,069.00
Quincy Public Schools$224,839.24
Rockland Public Schools$189,131.00
South Shore Vocational Technical High School$94,131.00
Westfield Public Schools$194,742.00
Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School$20,000.00
Worcester Public Schools$188,548.02