New York State Assemblymember Kevin Cahill (D-Ulster, Dutchess) and The Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz celebrate the launch of the Science Lab Initiative, a collaborative, two-phase undertaking funded by a $1 million capital grant, which will bring new science and technology labs to school districts in the 103rd NYS Assembly District.
The goal of the Science Lab Initiative is to encourage scientific curiosity and creativity, build student interest in science and promote science education in Hudson Valley schools, by giving students access to state-of-the-art science and technology labs and equipment.
Participating districts received $50,000 to support the purchase of equipment for their science and technology lab. Funding for this endeavor came from the New York State Capital Assistance Program through the New York State Assembly Ways and Means Committee and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York.
The Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz administered the grant and has supported each school district in both the development and implementation phases.
The districts included in this initiative are Kingston City School District, New Paltz Central School District, Onteora Central School District, Red Hook Central School District, Rhinebeck Central School District, Rondout Valley Central School District, Wallkill Central School District, Ulster BOCES and Woodstock Day School.
“The significance of science and technology training in modern education cannot be overstated,” said Assemblymember Cahill, a SUNY New Paltz alumnus. “Leaders at the Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz know this and that is why we partnered to significantly enhance the opportunities for middle and high school students to be exposed to state of the art tools. I thank the Benjamin Center, in particular, Dr. Gerald Benjamin and Dr. Robin Jacobowitz, for helping these students begin a lifelong relationship with state-of-the-art learning and I thank our area school districts for making it possible.”
“The Benjamin Center greatly values the opportunity to collaborate with Assemblyman Cahill in working with school districts within the 103rd Assembly District to enrich instruction in science and technology,” said Gerald Benjamin, Director of The Benjamin Center. “Through this endeavor, we have been able to join the collective expertise of The Benjamin Center, SUNY New Paltz’s Schools of Education and Science & Engineering, and the statewide Master Teacher Program with that of teachers working in school districts in the region in STEM fields. The Science Lab Initiative is an exciting example of the strengthening effect of collaboration among public institutions in our region.”
The Science Lab Initiative is already benefitting school districts and students in the Hudson Valley, according to Kevin Castle, superintendent of Wallkill Central School District.
“The zSpace lab enhances learning by providing students the combination of an augmented and virtual reality learning experience,” Castle said. “It converts two-dimensional learning into three-dimensional learning, resulting in real-life learning experiences for students. We are very thankful that Assemblyman Cahill provided the funds to support the goal of preparing our students for the 21st century workforce.”
Assemblyman Cahill and The Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz are also pleased to announce a second iteration of the Science Lab Initiative, which shifts the focus to providing funding for science and technology labs and equipment at the elementary school level.
This second phase of the Science Lab Initiative will extend opportunities in science and technology to our youngest students, in accordance with the recent adoption of the New York State Science Learning Standards. It is designed to foster engagement in science and technology beginning in elementary school, build interest and confidence in science in young children, and set students on a path of lifelong science learning.
The districts included in the second iteration of the Science Lab Initiative are Ellenville Central School District, Highland Central School District, Kingston City School District, New Paltz Central School District, Onteora Central School District, Red Hook Central School District, Rhinebeck Central School District, Rondout Valley Central School District, Wallkill Central School District, and Saugerties Central School District.