STEM centers open at 33 schools

Published: Thursday, August 29, 2019 By: Journal Record Staff Source: The Journal Record

Baseball Hall of Fame member Cal Ripken Jr. joined business and community leaders in Oklahoma City on Tuesday to commemorate a partnership between the district, the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation that placed a STEM Center at 33 elementary schools.

Each STEM Center requires a $30,000 investment. Organizations and individuals making financial commitments include Amazon, American Fidelity Foundation, Ascent Resources, BancFirst, Bank of America, BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma, Boeing, Chesapeake Energy, Cox, Devon Energy, Dr. Subha Varahan, FSB Architects, Glenna and Dick Tanenbaum, the Inasmuch Foundation, Kimray, Le Norman Properties, Love’s Travel Stops, McLaughlin Family Foundation, Northrup Grumman, the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board, the Oklahoma City Thunder, Terry McGhee and Tinker Air Force Base.

Backed by those community partners’ investments, the Ripken Foundation provided tools including 3D printers, furniture and supplies. The group also offers STEM coordinator training, curriculum guidebooks and activity kits to enhance the technology tools.

“Our foundation aims to provide kids with safe places to play, learn, and grow – teamwork and technology each play an important role in that mission,” said Ripken. “Thanks to the support of so many local partners, we are excited to be able to provide positive educational tools for success to the children of Oklahoma City.”

This is the first time the Ripken Foundation has provided STEM Centers across an entire school district. In addition to the 33 OKCPS centers, the Ripken Foundation will have a total of 54 STEM Centers operating across the country this fall.

The initiative was made possible because of the leadership of community partners like Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry, which pledged $300,000 through the OERB to support 10 STEM Centers.

“Education is the key to developing our workforce, as well as providing a great life for our community’s children,” OERB Chairman Mike McDonald said. “The energy industry is deeply committed to STEM education with the hope that our efforts will inspire and equip students from all backgrounds to become future scientists and engineers.”

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