By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE – The General Assembly has allocated $500,000 to help establish a private/public partnership with the JASON Project, a nonprofit designed to help teachers develop 21st-century skills.
Founded by University of Rhode Island professor and Robert Ballard, the foundation places a focus on promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, in the classroom.
“Education is one of the most important investments we can make as a state,” West Warwick Rep. Patricia A. Serpa, a democrat who sponsored the bill, said in a statement. “It is imperative not to lose sight of that, even during times of economic turmoil.”
STEM education has gained increased prominence in recent years with the opening of the R.I. STEM Center at Rhode Island College in 2009 under recommendations from the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel and PK-16 Advisory Committees.
Ballard, the world-famous deep-sea explorer most known for discovering the R.M.S. Titanic, established the JASON Project in 1989. It serves 1,000 students and teachers across the state and has programs across the country.
The state will fund program components including certification of lead teachers, training for educators and youth workers, school and organization grants for program implementation, and scientist mentoring via the URI Inner Space Center.