The Ripken Foundation teamed up with CRSF Board member Brooke Butler Wagner and her husband, Joshua Wagner, to open seven new STEM Centers in the Carlisle Area School District. Each Center comes fully-equipped with the latest technology and educational tools that pair with the CRSF STEM Center curriculum that uses hands-on activities engage students in STEM concepts.
"The STEM cart is portable and can be used in any space within a building," said District Director of Elementary Operations Monique Wallace. "The cross-curricular nature of the activities allows teachers to use these resources in many different subject areas." She continued, "Teachers have already begun using the STEM carts. As we continue to train staff, I am confident these resources will become part of our educational experience for our students."
With a STEM cart at all seven STEM Center locations, the districts 2,433 K-5 students now have equal access to early STEM education.
Carlisle Area School District Superintendent Colleen Friend was invited to Bellaire Elementary School to observe these new tools in action. "Students would program their Bee-Bot and set it to move," said Friend. "If it went the wrong direction or didn't turn where they expected it to turn, they would collaborate to fix it for the next trial." By using their new equipment, students are learning critical thinking and problem solving skills.
In addition to these seven STEM Centers, Brooke and Joshua have committed to a five-year, $5 million partnership to support our STEM Center initiative, as well as our programs and Youth Development Park initiative, impacting over 50,000 kids across the country. "When I first talked with Brooke, her passion and enthusiasm about the Foundation and the carts was captivating," said Friend. "I kept thinking to myself, CASD needs these for our elementary students. I was thinking, 'OK, I can budget for one each year, but how will we decide which elementary school would get one first?' And then Brooke said that she would make it possible for Calisle. I was still thinking, 'Well, that's an amazing offer, but for which school?' Brooke further explained that she would sponsor STEM carts for all seven elementary schools. I was astonished, and my eyes filled up with tears."