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ALVIN ISD PREPARES TO LAUNCH SECOND MOBILE LEARNING PROGRAM TO ENHANCE STEM EDUCATION
To provide effective strategies to enhance the performance of students in STEM subjects while inspiring and empowering them to pursue STEM careers, Alvin Independent School District is preparing to deploy an impressive STEM Mobile Lab called the Alvin ISD STEM Bus. The STEM Bus will deliver innovative and cutting-edge instruction of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math to students.
Alvin ISD received an initial donation of $40,000 from the Alvin ISD Education Foundation in 2019 when the district started developing the idea of a mobile STEM lab. The project had to slow down in 2020 due to COVID-19, but the idea was put back in motion early in 2021. To this date, the district has received over $135,000 in sponsorships from various national, state, and local community organizations, to help retrofit and staff a retired school bus.
“The Alvin ISD Education Foundation is very excited about the launching of the Alvin ISD STEM Bus, and we were thrilled to be able to make the initial donation to get this project in motion. We continue to support this project by accepting donations that will allow the STEM Bus to grow and adapt. The goal is to make bigger projects come to life and have a greater impact,” expressed Sheila Olson, Executive Director of the Alvin ISD Education Foundation.
A retired school bus donated by the Alvin ISD Transportation Department is being equipped with modern, science lab cabinetry, 50-inch smart television, 9 all-in-one computers, virtual reality equipment, robots, drones, a 3D Printer, tablets, solar panels, and a wide range of science and technology supplies to allow every Alvin ISD student the opportunity to have hands on learning experiences with the latest and greatest technology.
San Antonio-TX based, Lonestar Skoolie Conversions, is retrofitting the retired school bus and expects to make delivery of the Alvin ISD STEM Bus early in October in time to start visiting our schools before the end of the 2021 fall semester.
A team of architects from Stantec, one of the architecture firms hired to design schools for Alvin ISD, donated their time to design the interior of the STEM Bus. The team used their expertise in designing learning spaces to submit a design that promises to engage students and teachers and to ignite their enthusiasm to teach and learn STEM subjects.
T-Mobile jumped in to support this program at the end of 2020 and is equipping the STEM Bus with 5G internet connectivity and tablets for the students. Having access to 5G internet connectivity will be a great resource for this mobile program, especially when visiting those Alvin ISD communities where connectivity is hard to reach and therefore a barrier for students to connect to learning.
“Now, more than ever, we need equitable access for all kids.The Alvin ISD STEM Bus helps us inch forward in that mission. The Alvin area has been a fantastic partner with T-Mobile for years and this was a way for us to give back to those who are the pillars of our community’s future. We have even further ways to ensure high speed internet is in the home of Alvin ISD students at no cost to them & no liability. See if you qualify at tmobile.com/project10million,” said T-Mobile’s Manager of Community Engagement for the Texas Area, Spencer Leeder.
Phillips 66 and Ascend Performance Materials are Champion Level Sponsors. Together, these two organizations donated $40,000 which propelled the retrofitting phase of the STEM Bus, allowing the district to finish it before the end of 2021.
“Phillips 66 is pleased to be a contributing partner helping Alvin ISD to bring their STEM bus dreams to fruition. Oil and Gas represents a chief building block of STEM so it is only fitting that Phillips 66 would play an active role in funding this innovative hands on educational and hands on experience for the Alvin ISD students. Phillips 66 understands the importance of growing young minds, and the opportunity to be exposed to current technology for a progressive education. A retrofitted bus loaded with cutting edge technology and interactive workstations is the definition of cool school on wheels. Speaking for Phillips 66, we are honored to be a partner of the Alvin ISD dream machine,” commented Mike McGee, Phillips 66 Maintenance & Reliability Superintendent
Just like the well-known Alvin ISD Book Bus, the STEM Bus will be an extremely cool, eye-catching sight rolling from school-to-school. In addition to visiting each of the 19 elementary schools during the school year, the STEM Bus will be available at numerous community and district events as well as at special campus activities for student exploration. During the summer, the STEM Bus will visit multiple community locations near the students’ homes.
“Our district is excited for the opportunities that our students will have with the new Alvin ISD Stem Bus. Students will engage in the integration of science, technology, engineering, and math with activities designed by our curriculum department. The Alvin ISD Office of Family and Community Engagement has done an outstanding job with their vision and implementation for this project. Alvin ISD continues to look for ways to engage our students and community at the same time. This would not be possible without the support of so many partnerships and generous donations,” said Alvin ISD Superintendent, Carol Nelson.
To learn more about the Alvin ISD STEM Bus or to sponsor this program, visit https://www.alvinisd.net/stembus