October 23, 2020

Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Announces STEM Equipment and Professional Development Grants for Chelsea and Randolph School Districts

Life Sciences Center awards more than $330,000 in funding to benefit 3,500+ middle school and high students in Chelsea and Randolph

Today, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) announced two separate STEM equipment and teacher professional development grants for Chelsea and Randolph public schools. The more than $330,000 in funding, which will serve 3,500-plus students, supports the purchase of necessary lab equipment and supplies, as well as state-of-the-art tools and technology to better train and prepare students for life sciences careers, while also enabling teachers from multiple schools to participate in professional development opportunities. Chelsea Public Schools is receiving $194,237 ($100,537 for equipment and supplies and $93,700 for professional development) and Randolph Public Schools is receiving $137,173 ($91,973 for equipment and supplies and $45,200 for professional development).

“Our Administration is committed to strengthening and expanding pathways for students to experience STEM in schools across Massachusetts,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “With a focus on educational equity in life sciences instruction and training, this funding will unlock new opportunities for Massachusetts students to see themselves in a STEM-focused career.”

“The Baker-Polito Administration remains committed to investments in new opportunities for Massachusetts students to learn, gain skills, and drive interest in a career in the life sciences,” said Massachusetts Housing & Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as Co-Chair of the MLSC Board of Directors. “Through a shared goal to increase exposure and experiential opportunities in STEM, students are able to engage in hands-on learning early-on for success at the middle and high school levels, while also strengthening the future Massachusetts workforce.”

“The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to strengthening and expanding the Commonwealth’s life sciences talent pipeline by increasing opportunities for students to become involved with STEM,” said Secretary for Administration and Finance Michael J. Heffernan, who serves as Co-Chair of the MLSC Board of Directors. “These grants are an investment in the next generation of problem solvers, providing young people the necessary tools and dynamic space necessary to compete for exciting jobs in industries that will continue to grow and make a difference in people’s lives.”

Both school districts will use the grant funding to implement new curriculum provided by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education (MassBioEd) Foundation. MassBioEd’s Aligned Curricular and Career Experiences in Secondary Science (ACCESS) program seeks to create a strong foundation of scientific learning and thinking that improves MCAS performance, engages students in critical thinking, develops problem-solving skills, and provides career awareness.

“The thousands of students these funds will serve represent the inspiring young people across Massachusetts who hold the key to our Commonwealth remaining home to the most robust talent pool in the country,” said Interim MLSC President and CEO Damon Cox. “The Life Sciences Center continues to be a robust partner to our k-12 partners to ensure that as many students as possible are provided hands-on learning to grow their curiosity, skills, and knowledge in various STEM fields.”

The Chelsea Public Schools grant will support four schools, Chelsea High School and all three Chelsea middle schools, with equipment, utilized by approximately 2,271 students annually, and professional development for 27 teachers. Grant funds will also fund augmented reality equipment for students to engage in more complex or invisible phenomena through partially or fully immersive experiences. The expected outcome from receiving the grant will be more robust curriculum units that incorporate hands-on, authentic learning experiences that will support students to understand phenomena in the natural world.

“We are very excited to be able to offer our students a deeper learning experience in the life sciences,” said Chelsea Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Almi G. Abeyta. “With the grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center we will be able to provide students with meaningful hands-on and augmented reality labs which will help to set the foundation for many of them to enter the life sciences workforce in the years to come.”

“The Mass Life Sciences Center’s grant to the Chelsea Public Schools is great news for the district, and will avail our middle and high school students to a wider, more hands-on, and up-to-date STEM curriculum,” said Senator Sal DiDomenico. “The continued partnership our school districts have with the Life Sciences Center helps to inspire interest and passion for STEM among our students and further supports the professional development of our STEM faculty.”

“Thank you to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center for awarding Chelsea Public Schools these grants totaling nearly $200,000 for equipment and professional development in STEM,” said Representative RoseLee Vincent (D-Revere).  “Providing these expanded educational opportunities to students in middle school will help to spark and foster an interest in STEM in our students and could place them onto the path for a bright and successful future in the STEM field.”

“I want to thank the Mass Life Sciences Center for their investment in the young people of Chelsea,” said State Representative Dan Ryan. “These grants will go a long way in advancing STEM learning and student opportunities in Chelsea so our students will have the tools and skills to compete in a leading Massachusetts industry if they choose to do so.”

“We are grateful to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center for providing this grant to Chelsea’s schools,” said Chelsea City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “Investments in equipment and teachers’ professional development for our STEM programming will help ensure our schools better serve students as they prepare for careers in life sciences and beyond.”

The grant to Randolph Public Schools will support both the district’s high school and middle school with equipment, utilized by approximately 1,312 students annually, and professional development for 12 teachers. Funding will also enable the district to receive MassBioEd’s job-embedded professional development, form connections with experts in the field, and bring hands-on lab science experiences in the classrooms.

“Randolph High School is extremely excited about this partnership with Mass Life Sciences,” said Randolph High School Assistant Principal David Pierce. “We see this grant as an opportunity for both our teachers and our students as we work to provide a high level of science instruction and science pathways to future careers.”

“Through this outstanding grant from the Massachusetts Life Science Center, the investment into the STEM program in Randolph will provide students with new lab equipment and supplies,” said State Senator Walter F. Timilty. “This is not only an investment in the school district, but also an investment for our future. I’m so very thankful to the Life Science Center for this wonderful investment.”

“This is tremendous news. I saw firsthand the reach of this grant program as part of the House Bonding Committee last session,” said State Representative Bill Driscoll Jr. “I thank the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and their leadership for recognizing Randolph Public Schools with this important investment.”

“We’re grateful to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center for making this grant and the support it provides possible,” said Randolph Town Manager Brian Howard. “It’s an investment in the curiosity and professional development of Randolph students and teachers that will open new doors toward careers in STEM-related fields.”

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.