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Allentown School District Boasts Innovative STEM Partnership

Allentown Fourth and Fifth Graders to Reap the Benefits

NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Caroline Scutt, caroline.scutt@nulldavincisciencecenter.org

ALLENTOWN, PA. Jan. 27, 2021 — Despite challenges presented to teachers in a virtual learning world, Allentown School District (ASD) is excited to expand its STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) partnership between the district and the Da Vinci Science Center to include PPL Electric Utilities (PPL) and the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC). The unique collaboration will provide all 2,574 ASD fourth and fifth grade students and their teachers with books and hands-on science education materials to complement their virtual classrooms.

Thanks to a generous gift from PPL, fourth grade students will each receive the book, “Everyday Energy” which features short stories that incorporate reading into the lessons of “How Can We Provide Energy to People’s Homes,” while fifth grade students will read “Water Works” which features short stories that incorporate reading into the lessons of “How Can We Get Fresh Water to Those in Need.”

Along with the books, students will receive a hands-on science kit from Da Vinci Science Center that will enable them to perform their science curriculum activities from home in a virtual classroom setting.   Da Vinci Science Center and SSEC will also provide a full day of professional development, exclusive to ASD staff, to prepare teachers to launch this science curriculum in their virtual classrooms.  Da Vinci Science Center science educators will then provide further training and co-teach five sessions to support implementation of new hands-on experiences.  The hands-on materials and student and teacher programs are made possible with the generous support of The Century Fund as part of a multi-year initiative across the district to make measurable improvement in STEM learning in the elementary grades.

“This partnership will provide access to engaging STEM materials, helping to bridge the gap of science education in this virtual environment,” said Greg Dudkin, President of PPL Electric Utilities. “We’re proud to collaborate with SSEC and the Da Vinci Science Center on this critical initiative in our community to enhance the education of students and nurture further interest in STEM subjects.”

“This collaborative effort delivers significant benefits to students,” said Lin Erickson, Executive Director and CEO of Da Vinci Science Center. “It prevents learning loss in science; provides students with hands-on STEM materials during virtual learning, thereby increasing their engagement in STEM; and supports teacher implementation of new STEM curriculum in a virtual environment. Not only does this unique initiative provide high-quality, robust science education materials, it sets a stellar example for future partnerships among organizations with similar educational goals.”

“The Allentown School District is incredibly grateful for the collaborative partnership of PPL and the Century Fund, who repeatedly show their commitment to creating a better future for the youth of our city, by investing in STEM education,” said Thomas Parker, ASD Superintendent. “STEM programming through SSEC & Da Vinci Science Center not only enhances ASD’s high-quality virtual learning experience, but also helps advance the work outlined in the district’s Strategic Framework of personalized learning and instruction through anytime anywhere learning opportunities.” 

About The Da Vinci Science Center

The Da Vinci Science Center is a national award-winning science center that has brought science to life and lives to science since 1992. Da Vinci Science Center experiences make science fun and approachable, helping to connect people of all ages and backgrounds with the wonders of science. An independent nonprofit organization with IRS 501(c)(3) status, the Da Vinci Science Center engages more than 150,000 participants annually with its exhibits, programs, events, and partnerships.

Additional information and opportunities to support the Da Vinci Science Center are available on the web at davincisciencecenter.org and facebook.com/davincisciencecenter.

About PPL Electric Utilities

PPL Electric Utilities, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL), provides safe, reliable and affordable electric delivery services to about 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania and has consistently ranked among the best companies for customer service in the United States. More information is available at www.pplelectric.com.

About the Smithsonian Science Education Center

The Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) is working to break down barriers to science so that all students—regardless of gender, geography, race, native language, ability, or socio-economic status—are engaged and challenged in school and equipped to be scientifically literate global citizens who can innovate, compete, and thrive in a world of unprecedented scientific and technological change.  Learn more at www.ssec.si.edu

About Allentown School District

The Allentown School District serves nearly 17,000 students in a network of 25 early childhood, elementary, middle and high schools throughout the city of Allentown, PA. The Allentown School District is the third largest urban school district out of 500 districts in the Commonwealth. The District’s Mission states that each and every student will graduate college and career ready by having their individual needs met through active engagement in a rigorous, safe and nurturing learning environment. Our core values reflect a commitment to excellence, partnership and equity.  The Allentown School District employs approximately 2,400 teachers, staff and administrators. Founded in 1866, ASD serves students from 74 countries speaking 47 languages with nearly 90 percent household qualifying as low income. www.allentownsd.org

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