Debbie V. Nguyen
Johnson Space Center, Houston
May 17, 2005
NASA Announces New Explorer Schools
NASA today announced the 50 new 2005 Explorer Schools. The NASA Explorer Schools are the heart of a unique education program that reaches elementary-to-high-school students in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington.
The NASA Explorer Schools (NES) program is one of four major agency educational initiatives. Since its inauguration in 2003, the NES has established three-year partnerships annually with 50 schools. The partnerships include students, teachers, and education administrators serving grades four through nine, from diverse communities across the country. Schools in the program are eligible to receive grants up to $17,500 over the three-year period to support student engagement in science and mathematics.
"NASA will need a robust workforce to carry out the Vision for Space Exploration. The Explorer School program looks to fulfill the Vision by inspiring the next generation of explorers," said NASA's Chief Education Officer, Dr. Adena Williams Loston. "The program provides the opportunity to Explore – Discover – and Understand through educational activities. It includes fun, challenging adventures tailored to promote learning and studying science, mathematics, engineering and technology."
During the three-year partnership, NES teams work with NASA personnel and other partners to develop and implement strategic plans for staff and students. The plans promote and support the use of NASA content and programs to address the teams' local needs in mathematics, science, and technology education.
Students participate in authentic NASA science and technology experiences. They have access to unique NASA resources and materials to help them learn about agency careers in mathematics, science, engineering, and technology.
Each summer teachers participate in one-week professional development workshops at one of 10 NASA Field Centers. They also receive $500 stipends for both summer and school year activities. The NES program also reaches out to the students' families and communities by providing access to interactive Web NASA learning adventures and other special opportunities.
The announcement completed a week of activities during the 2005 Leadership Institute/2003 and 2004 NASA Explorer Schools Student Symposium in Space Center, Houston. It included workshops and tours of NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston for students and educators attending the Symposium.
Eighty seven percent of NES are in high poverty areas; 76 percent represent predominantly minority communities. Ninety-eight percent of the 2005 class is in high poverty areas; 82 percent in predominantly minority communities; 19 in Hispanic communities.
In cooperation with the European Space Agency, the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, NASA's Explorer Schools concept traveled overseas to the Netherlands. Called the Delta Researchers School Program (DRS), it is patterned after NES. It focuses on children nine to 12 years-old. DRS emphasizes human spaceflight, the International Space Station and other international cooperative projects.
The Vision for U.S. Space Exploration is a bold new course into the cosmos, a journey that will return the Space Shuttle safely to flight, complete the construction of the International Space Station, take humans back to the moon and eventually to Mars and beyond.
"Perhaps someone in a NASA Explorer School will be the first to walk on Mars," Loston said.
For a list of NASA Explorer Schools on the Internet, visit: http://explorerschools.nasa.gov
For information about NASA Education programs on the Internet, visit:
For information about NASA and agency programs on the Internet, visit
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