Lawrence Tech, Detroit Public Schools In ‘STEAM’ Partnership

SOUTHFIELD — Lawrence Technological University Friday announced a partnership with the Detroit Public Schools to enhance education in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics at the Sampson-Webber Leadership Academy, a K-8 school on Detroit’s west side.

Fifty middle school students will become the first Blue Devil Scholars at Sampson-Webber, and 50 additional students will join every year. These students will continue in the program through 12th grade. They will earn college credits and be eligible to attend LTU with scholarship support if they so choose.

Informational meetings will start in August and run through October. Sampson-Webber Leadership Academy currently has a limited number of openings in this program for students in grades 6-8. Families interested in enrolling should call (313) 240-4377.

Lawrence Tech is making a $3.5 million scholarship commitment to attract larger numbers of DPS students and prepare them for opportunities in STEAM fields.

More than a dozen LTU faculty members will be involved in this partnership with DPS, and the university together with DPS will provide additional resources and funding throughout the life of the project.

“This is an exciting new chapter in Lawrence Tech’s ongoing involvement in Detroit,” LTU president Virinder Moudgil said. “We want to encourage more students from Detroit to attend Lawrence Tech, and this program is designed to prepare them for success both at the college level and in their professional careers in STEAM-related fields.”

The Blue Devil Scholars program is designed to provide a systematic approach to enhance STEAM education for Sampson-Webber students starting in sixth grade and continuing through high school. In the future, the program will expand to reach students in third through fifth grades, and eventually the process of preparing students for STEAM education will begin in kindergarten.

The partnership will also have a professional development component for the teachers, including workshops on project-based learning and active-collaborative learning.

Student preparedness will be assessed in middle school. Once the data is evaluated, modules with STEAM content will be created that can be embedded in existing middle school courses. Tutoring by Lawrence Tech students proficient in science and math will supplement the STEAM modules.

LTU said the goal of the program is to spark students’ interest in the exploration of STEAM subjects, nurture a college-bound mindset, prepare them for admission to Lawrence Tech, ease their transition to higher learning, and inspire them to consider STEAM-based careers.

Ultimately, the program is expected to enroll some 300 students through 12th grade. Moreover, the goal is that as success is demonstrated, the program can be duplicated by additional partnering institutions.

Participating students will be provided age-appropriate activities and courses designed to strengthen their learning in STEAM subjects, and helping them complete high school with some college credits. Next, the students will be admitted to Lawrence Tech and receive scholarships supporting their completion of a STEAM-based degree.

The program has four components: Academic preparation, to develop an integrated educational plan that provides academic opportunities inside and outside the classroom, scholarships to LTU; professional development for Sampson-Webber teachers; and support services, including student employment, tutoring, pre-college planning, and co-curriculuar experiences like a career day, exploration day, and summer camps.

The Blue Devils Scholars Program is offered through LTU’s Marburger STEM Center, established through an alumnus’ anonymous gift to the University. For more information, contact Lisa Kujawa, assistant provost for enrollment management, lkujawa@ltu.edu or (248) 204-2400.

When the Blue Devil Scholars move to high school, they will choose one of five STEAM tracks — art, design, math-science, technology-management or engineering. The students will earn college credits in embedded and dual-enrollment courses taken at LTU and will graduate with a certificate for 12-15 credit hours that will be transferrable to Lawrence Tech.

The Blue Devil Scholars who choose to attend Lawrence Tech will receive scholarship support as long as academic performance standards are met.

The components of the program include:

• Sampson-Webber students selected as Blue Devil Scholars will continue through 12th grade at DPS’s Detroit Collegiate Prep at Northwestern High School with specific curricular and co-curricular activities that foster knowledge about STEAM subjects, STEAM careers and skill-based learning in STEAM areas;
• Parents will be engaged in the programming from the beginning to ensure their full support;
• Later in the program the Blue Devil Scholars will receive a personal computer and instruction on how to use it;
• During their high school years, the Blue Devil Scholars will also participate in co-curricular experiences at LTU that will lay the groundwork for completing college successfully and then moving into a good-paying, STEAM-related career.

Lawrence Tech already has several programs to encourage high school students to pursue STEAM-related subjects. However, this is the first LTU program that takes a comprehensive approach and starts earlier in the educational process.

“We are confident that students who successfully complete the Blue Devil Scholars program will be well prepared to do well in challenging college courses as soon as they arrive on campus as freshmen,” Moudgil said. “Lawrence Tech is the perfect university for Detroit students to attend for STEAM-related education because we have specialized in those areas for so long.”

For more information about the Blue Devil Scholars program, go to www.ltu.edu/ltu/blue-devil-scholars.asp.

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