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Jonas Dino
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
Phone: 650/604-5612 or 650/604-9000

May 18, 2005
NASA Ames Partners with Five New Explorer School Teams
NASA yesterday announced the 50 new 2005 Explorer Schools. The NASA Explorer Schools are the heart of a unique educational program that reaches elementary-to-high-school pupils in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

Five of the new Explorer Schools teams in the western United States will establish a three-year partnership with NASA Ames Research Center, located in California’s Silicon Valley, to provide their students with NASA science and technology experiences and access to unique NASA resources and materials. The school teams are: Nikiski North Star and Sterling Elementary Schools located in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula; Hellgate Elementary School, Missoula, Mont.; Ed Von Tobel Middle School, Las Vegas, Nev.; Toppenish Middle School, Toppenish, Wash.; and Johnson Junior High School, Cheyenne, Wyo.

“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,” she said.

The NASA Explorer School (NES) program is one of four major agency educational initiatives. Since its inauguration in 2003, the NES program 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 of up to $17,500 over the three-year period to support student engagement in science and mathematics.

During the partnership, NASA Explorer School teams work with agency 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.

Each summer, teachers participate in one-week professional development workshops at one of NASA’s 10 field centers. They 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-based NASA learning adventures and other special opportunities.

The announcement completed a week of activities during the 2005 Leadership Institute/2004 NASA Explorer Schools Student Symposium at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston. It included workshops and tours of the space center for students and educators attending the symposium.

Eighty seven percent of all NASA Explorer Schools are in high-poverty areas, and 76 percent represent predominantly minority communities. Ninety-eight percent of the 2005 class is in high- poverty areas, and 82 percent is in predominantly minority communities; 19 are in Hispanic communities.

The Vision for 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, and 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:

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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