STEAM education in Brooklyn gets $15M boost across dozens of schools

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More than 50 Brooklyn schools are getting a big boost to their STEAM departments: $15 million in capital investment from the borough president’s office.

The funding will go toward science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics education for students across the borough, focusing on preparing students for jobs in emerging technology industries and increasing urban farming across Brooklyn.

Adams made the announcement Thursday at PS 158 Warwick in East New York, a school that has a state-of-the-art computer lab and mobile tech lab due to a previous investment of $255,000 from his office. 

“We’ve already seen what these types of investments mean to schools like PS 158, with their new labs — when children are exposed to new ways of learning, it can change their lives,” he said.  “All students deserve educational environments where they can explore their curiosity with experiential, hands-on learning, and this year’s capital budget shows we are committed to making that happen.”

Related: Adams tells tech companies to embrace diversity at Brooklyn Tech Week kickoff

The funding — part of Adams’ Fiscal Year 2020 budget — accounts for nearly one-third of a total $50 million he has available in capital funding. 

The allocation will fund, among other projects, the construction of multiple hydroponic labs and roof gardens — both part of Adams’ larger “Growing Brooklyn’s Future” urban farming education initiative.

“Students will now be able to ask and answer questions rooted in actual hands-on experiences right outside their classroom door,” said Michael Perlberg, principal of M.S. 839, in a press release. 

Perlberg’s school, which shares a building with P.S. 130, was awarded a $565,000 grant, will use the grant money for a roof garden. “We believe that connecting students directly with their food sources will lead to healthier eating habits and lives,” he said.

Other schools plan to use the funding for technological advancements. Nathalie Jufer, principal of the Urban Assembly School For Criminal Justice, plans to use her school’s $70,000 grant for a new computer lab. 

“As a Title 1 school, providing access to computers and other technological devices is a necessity and this funding will allow us to provide students with the resources they need for the 21st century,” Jufer said in a press release. 

The funding comes just as schools across New York City kicked off the year with broadband internet upgrades. Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza announced the much-needed improvements back in October, after a recent study found that students in certain boroughs lacked access to basic cloud-based technologies like Google Drive due to slow Wi-Fi speeds. 

For a full list of schools set to receive STEAM funding, see here.