Manchester, New Hampshire (PRWEB) February 12, 2014
Education and community leaders in Manchester, NH announced today the opening of the Technology and Innovation Academy at SEE, a new private/public educational opportunity for students that will revolutionize how they learn about technology.
The Technology and Innovation Academy at SEE, which is located at SEE Science Center in the Manchester Millyard, was initiated by long-time engineer and educator Ali Rafieymehr. The Academy will offer interactive courses centered around the STEAM AHEAD NH initiative, which promotes the understanding and enjoyment of achievements in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.
“In order for New Hampshire, Metro Boston and New England to become an innovation center for the world, we need to educate and retain more college graduates in the technology sector,” said Jeremy Hitchcock, CEO of Dyn, a Manchester technology company and supporter of the initiative. “Universities and colleges in New Hampshire have made a commitment to double the number of graduates in STEM fields by 2025, but to reach that goal it is imperative that students adopt an interest in those disciplines early on in their educational careers.”
The Academy will initially offer 6 to 14 week sessions for this spring. The course offerings will be made available to 15 fifth grade students from Beech Street Elementary School and 15 students at the junior and senior levels at Manchester High School West.
“We are very excited to see STEAM Ahead NH take shape through this pilot course,” said Christopher Motika, Principal of Manchester High School West. “We are currently gauging interest and are marketing the course at Manchester High School West. We will continue to take the names of interested students until the end of the month, and encourage anyone with an interest in programming or computer science to sign up in the main office.”
The pilot courses will be at no cost to the students, as materials, instructor time and funding for computer lab upgrades have been donated by Rafieymehr and community partners including Manchester-based digital marketing agency, SilverTech, Dyn and Granite United Way. Future plans are underway to expand the class size and course offerings based upon on the reception and success of the pilot programs.
“The partnership between educators and the business sector is what makes this program unique,” said Nick Soggu, Computer Science Professor and CEO of SilverTech. “Open communication between students, teachers, education administrators and business people will be the key to The Academy’s success.”
The initial courses, taught by Soggu and Rafieymehr, who is currently Dean of Dyn University, and Soggu, will focus on programming, as it is a subject with exceedingly low exposure to students in primary education. The elementary school students will be able to enroll in a course on Alice programming, which will introduce key programming concepts using the 3-D animation program Alice from Carnegie Mellon University.
Elementary students will be bussed directly to the SEE Science Center from school, on a bus donated by Granite United Way, while high school students will be expected to provide their own transportation.
“It is very exciting to be a part of such a great concept,” said Patrick Tufts, President and CEO of Granite United Way. “It is amazing what can happen when our business and educational communities come together to provide the young people of Manchester with the skills they need."
The high school students will be eligible to attend a C++ programming course that will be equivalent to a college level introductory course. As such, students will earn credit to Manchester Community College (MCC).
“At Manchester Community College, we are embracing the fact that education is changing,” said Susan Huard, President of MCC. “To own the future we must innovate, which is why we’re participating in this program. Our goal is to prepare our students for their lives and for their careers and this is a very good start.”
These courses are the first initiative of STEAM AHEAD NH, a pilot program - currently awaiting approval from the Manchester School Board - that would build upon the strong partnerships between the school district and business community to provide the opportunity for students to graduate from high school with literacy in key technical areas, as well as college credits to the University System of New Hampshire, the Community College System of New Hampshire and MCC.
“As Mayor it is wonderful to know there are so many educators, business people and community supporters who are invested in our children’s future,” said Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas. “This is the first step in an exciting journey.”
“We are very thankful for the way the community has come together to support the creation of this Academy,” said Rafieymehr. “Education in STEAM is essential to meet the growing demand for talent in the tech industry, especially in New Hampshire. The demand is great and providing our students with as many options as possible will help ensure that we own the future.”
The courses are set to begin on March 3, 2014.
To learn more visit http://www.see-sciencecenter.org/technology-academy.