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

Staci Johnson
Headquarters, Washington
(202) 358-7232

Joan Miller
Vernon School, Portland Ore.
(503) 916-6415

May 24, 2006
NASA Selects Vernon School for Explorer School Team
NASA recently welcomed 26 new NASA Explorer Schools, including Vernon School in Portland, Ore., to its nationwide program designed to inspire students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Vernon will officially begin the NASA Explorer School (NES) program in the fall for the 2006-2007 academic year. The school joins 16 Explorer School teams in the western United States partnered with NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., for the program.

"We are very excited to be selected as a NASA Explorer School," said Joan Miller, principal of Vernon School. "We know our students will enjoy the opportunities to see how scientists use math, science and technology in their work. Now, we look forward to enriching our science instruction with applications from our NASA partners and including our families as partners in this new project," Miller added.

An important goal of NASA's elementary and secondary programs is to attract and retain students in science and technical fields through a progression of educational opportunities for students, teachers and administrators. NASA's 150 Explorer School teams, which come primarily from minority and under-represented communities, represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Selected schools are eligible to receive up to $17,500 during the three-year partnership to develop their Explorer School program and acquire technology, including equipment for the program’s Digital Learning Network. The program also provides educators and students with content-specific activities that will augment their existing science and math curricula.

Located in northeast Portland, Vernon has an enrollment of 380 pre-kindergarten through sixth grade students. Over the next two years, the school will add seventh and eighth grades as well. In the spring of 2005, Vernon was one of six schools in the state to be given the first 'Celebrating School Success' award created by the Oregon superintendent of instruction to recognize schools that have been successful in closing the achievement gap. The Vernon staff look forward to bringing the same level of focus and teamwork to the new opportunities available as a NASA Explorer School.

Members of Vernon's Explorer team are Carla Bickett, Amy Griffith, Alvin Johnson, Kathy Hagerty and Miller. They will join members of the other western region NASA teams at NASA Ames in July for orientation and professional development.

The NASA Explorer Schools program was chosen as one of the "Top Innovations in American Government Awards for 2006" by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

For a list of the NASA Explorer Schools and additional information, visit:

For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:


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