Verizon revamps P.S./I.S. 30’s STEM program

Five New York City schools have been awarded a total of $100,000 towards improvements in science, technology, engineering and math thanks to the Verizon Innovative Learning Grants program – and one of them is right here in the Ridge.

P.S./I.S. 30 Mary White Ovington (415 Ovington Avenue) was given a $20,000 grant on Thursday, December 18 to help foster the school’s growing STEM Program. The news came as a complete surprise to the 10 students science teacher Nathan Tubbs chose to hear first-hand just what this money means.

“The big news is that we submitted a proposal and we’ve received a grant,” said Tubbs. “That way, you can see that science can be more than just a fun subject; it’s something that can be used as a career later.”

Tubbs’ proposal posed the question, “How does STEM affect our lives in both a historical perspective and a current and futuristic perspective?” taking a closer look at “nature deficiency,” and giving students who might not normally have it a VIP ticket to the great outdoors.

The cherry on top? A class-wide field-trip upstate that would allow students to pull up their boots, leave their cell phones behind and participate in real-life survival training. Additionally, Tubbs said, the school will be investing in a brand new 3D printer (or two!) –

and that’s only the beginning.

“My hope in this is that you begin to see how much fun you can have studying STEM,” said the NASA-inspired sixth and seventh grade science teacher from Alabama. “I am so excited about this opportunity for you guys to get creative and think outside the box.”

Principal Carol Heeraman – the self-proclaimed “crying principal” – agreed as she held back tears and commended Tubbs for his efforts and his passion.

“I told him ‘Get this done,’ and here we are,” she lauded. “Mr. Tubbs is an awesome teacher, and I’m just so excited for you guys.”

Douglas Schoenberger, vice president of Corporate Responsibility and Public Policy for Verizon, was on hand to present “the Green School” with one very large check.

“Things like this are really, really important to us,” he said, joking that in the fine print of the grant, Tubbs is required to take the VP on that field trip upstate. “One reason that Verizon focuses on these areas is become they are areas from which we can hire you. When we look for people who want to work for Verizon, that background is really important.”

Councilmember Vincent Gentile and John Quaglione, representative for State Senator Marty Golden, joined in on the congratulations.

“This is all very exciting, and you should be thrilled,” said Gentile.

Quaglione recalled his own fifth grade field trip upstate as his “most memorable moment of elementary school.”

The Verizon Innovate Learning Grants program is part of Verizon’s commitment to the Obama administration’s ConnectED initiative, under which Verizon is providing up to $100 million in cash and in-kind contributions to drive student achievement, especially in STEM subjects.

The Bay Ridge school is one of only 100 schools nationwide to receive the Verizon Innovative Learning Grant.

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