Johns Hopkins Chips in on City’s First STEM Elementary School

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Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood campus is less than a mile from Barclay Elementary. Over the years, the powerhouse university has hosted programs and helped pay for upgrades at the nearby public elementary school. Now, Hopkins is becoming even more involved, with a new plan to help transform Barclay into the city’s first elementary school with a STEM focus.

The school’s new curriculum will be developed with support from educators at the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering. They’ll find a way to incorporate elements of engineering and computer science into all classes, including reading, social studies, and art. Students will also have access to a new state-of-the-art tech lab, which features 3D printers, smartboards, and a “makerspace” where kids can get hands-on experience.

“Our goal is to provide these students with a foundation in critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and collaboration that will enable them to pursue further studies and, ultimately, careers in STEM fields,” Whiting School Dean Ed Schlesinger, told the Hopkins Hub.

STEM schools are a new trend in the education landscape. So far, the jury is out as to whether they’re successful at producing the desired outcomes — smart kids who score high on math exams and are well-prepared for the high-paying tech jobs of tomorrow. But teaching second graders how to use a 3D printer certainly can’t hurt.

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