March 6, 2020

Massachusetts Life Sciences Center announces STEM Equipment and Professional Development Funding for Salem Public Schools

Life Sciences Center awards $88,932 to Salem school district for three high schools and two middle schools

Salem—Today, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) announced an $88,932 grant for STEM equipment and teacher professional development for all Salem, Massachusetts high schools and middle schools. The funding, which will serve approximately 1,566 students, enables the district to expand current life sciences curricula and implement new curricula, as well as outfit a new lab space to support a biomedical pathway program.

“This investment represents new opportunities for Salem students to learn, gain skills, and drive interest in a career in the life sciences,” said MLSC Interim President and CEO Timothy McGourthy. “The Life Sciences Center’s support for hands-on learning in science, technology, engineering and math, in concert with our funding for teacher professional development, is essential to fulfilling our commitment to strengthening the Massachusetts workforce.”

The Salem Public Schools will receive up to $68,343 for three high schools and up to $20,589 for two middle schools. The grant includes $76,932 for equipment and supplies and $12,000 for teacher professional development. The district will purchase 3D printers, robotics kits, digital microscopes, spectrometers, and miniPCR machines, among other industry-standard equipment, as well as transform an aging classroom into a full laboratory for a new biomedical pathway program. Teachers will participate in training workshops provided by Project Lead The Way (PLTW) and the MassBioEd BioTeach program. MLSC funding leverages $64,000 provided by the Norman H. Read Trust to support PLTW courses at Salem High School and purchase middle school lab supplies.

“Salem Public Schools has an unwavering commitment to heightening students’ interest in STEM-based career through meaningful and relevant coursework and experiences during their middle and high school years,” said Salem Public Schools Interim Superintendent Kathleen Smith. “We are so fortunate to be receiving this grant from the Mass Life Science Center to help us expand and strengthen our STEM programming.”

“Funding from the Mass Life Sciences Center grant will assist Salem Public Schools in having the tools, equipment, and training to provide rigorous, standards-aligned science instruction,” said Salem Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Kate Carbone. “It will also allow students to engage in science work just as professional scientists do.”

In 2019, the MLSC piloted a new district-centric approach to awarding STEM funding that supports comprehensive and strategic plans for adequately supporting STEM education across multiple schools, with consideration of vertical alignment and state standards. By awarding districts, rather than individual schools, the MLSC can provide professional development opportunities that serve teachers from multiple schools and increase engagement at the district-level to allow for greater understanding of community-wide resource needs and inequities to address skills gaps.

The funding to Salem Public Schools builds upon the grants awarded this past May, in which nearly $1.14 million in STEM equipment and professional development dollars was distributed across 36 public middle schools and high schools in the five school districts of Boston, Brockton, Lawrence, Lowell, and Springfield. The Salem schools receiving funding include Collins Middle School, Saltonstall School, Salem High School, New Liberty Innovation School, and Salem Prep High School.

“I am so grateful to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center for providing this grant to Salem’s schools,” said Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll. “Investments in equipment and teachers’ professional development for our science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs will help our schools better serve Salem students as they prepare for careers and success later in life. Beyond just career success, though, STEM education helps our students become more critical thinkers and better citizens of the world around them.”

“As Senate Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Education, I know that students need to have access to the best teachers and technologies to thrive,” stated Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem).  “I am grateful to the Mass Life Sciences Center for approving these grants that will help young people in Salem succeed in school today and in the jobs of the future tomorrow.”

“This STEM Grant Program from the MLSC allows Salem students to be at the forefront of learning in this rapidly developing field,” said State Representative Paul F. Tucker. “I am very grateful to the MLSC for awarding this grant and look forward to the implementation, providing lab equipment and professional development for our teachers.”

The MLSC has now invested more than $17.8 million in equipment and professional development funding in nearly 200 high schools, middle schools, and organizations throughout Massachusetts, and has leveraged more than $1 million in cash and in-kind matching funds from industry partners. MLSC funding has served schools in 13 of the 14 Massachusetts counties and 25 of the 26 Gateway Cities. Moreover, more than half of students attending eligible schools have gained access to new equipment and nearly 30 percent of all Massachusetts public school students attend a school that has received an MLSC grant.

About Salem Public Schools

Salem Public Schools is a diverse and welcoming community that promotes the academic, social, emotional, and physical development of each student through the equitable delivery of challenging, relevant, and joyful learning experiences. Located in Salem, Massachusetts, we empower all students to chart a personalized path to success that includes a commitment to the common good.

About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is an economic development investment agency dedicated to supporting the growth and development of the life sciences in Massachusetts, home to the most verdant and productive life sciences ecosystem in the world.  Through public-private funding initiatives, the MLSC supports innovation, education, research and development, commercialization, and manufacturing activities in the fields of biopharma, medical device, diagnostics and digital health.  Since its creation in 2007, the MLSC has strategically deployed over $700 million in Massachusetts, through a combination of grants, loans, capital infrastructure investments, tax incentives and workforce programs.  These investments have created thousands of jobs and propelled the development of new therapies, devices and scientific advancements that are improving patient health and well-being in Massachusetts and beyond.