Pittsburgh Maker Movement Takes National Stage at White House Summit on Next Generation High Schools
A student who exemplifies the Maker tradition is Pittsburgh Allderdice’s Jahnik Kurukulasuriya. Participating at the center of Pittsburgh biomedical renaissance Jahnik (17) is currently conducting research in cancer bioinformatics at the UPMC Magee Women’s Research Institute. Through his research project, he has been able to make nucleotide sequence probes that could allow for the detection of cancerous cell lineages by searching for fusion genes – particularly cell lineages implicated in the development of breast cancer.
This past April, The Grable Foundation grant of $480,000.00 supported the development of curriculum, professional development and technology as well as the creation of STEAM labs at three District schools: Pittsburgh Lincoln PreK-5, Pittsburgh Schiller 6-8 and Pittsburgh Woolslair PreK-5. Also a STEAM grant from The Allegheny Intermediate Unit, Chevron, The Benedum Foundation and The Grable Foundation will create a new Maker Space Lab complete with a CNC milling machine, 3D printers and 3D modeling software at Pittsburgh Perry High School.
Gregg Behr, Executive Director of The Grable Foundation gave a speech at the event about the Remake Learning Network.
“Making has been a part of Pittsburgh’s DNA since the 1800s. Makers today, such as Jahnik, are carrying on the great history of our city through new ideas and cutting-edge technology,” said Gregg Behr, Executive Director, The Grable Foundation. “STEAM education and the Maker Movement are cut from the same cloth, as both are contemporary, active learning pedagogies that integrate interdisciplinary thinking and hands-on, project-based learning. We are proud to be a part of this resurgence of Pittsburgh as a leader in the maker education movement.”
Today’s Summit will catalyze new thinking on challenges and opportunities for strengthening the countries high schools. It brought a broad range of stakeholders to the table, from teachers who work every day to inspire their students, administrators ensuring their teachers have tools and support they need, researchers breaking ground in learning science, industry and foundation leaders who are seeding exciting work in communities across the country, and the full spectrum of partners working to create a more equitable education system.
Multiple organizations have made commitments in response to the President’s Call to Action, including the Pittsburgh Public Schools and The Grable Foundation. The Commitments below were included in the The White House Fact Sheet.
Fall cycle grantees received approximately $2,500 each and expanded STEAM learning opportunities from 1,300 students to over 5,500 students across the District. During the spring cycle of the District's Mini Grant Program, an additional $57,000 (approximately) will be disbursed. The second cycle of STEAM mini-grants will double, to 11,000, the number of students who have access to high-quality, interactive STEAM experiences across the District. The STEAM Mini Grant Program is part of a broader initiative across the District to roll out a K-12 STEAM Program. To date, this initiative includes formal STEAM programs in two high schools, Pittsburgh Brashear High School and Pittsburgh Perry High School.
The Grable Foundation will add to its nearly $8 million in grants allocated over the past ten years to support innovative learning in high-school settings with another $2 million in grants in 2016. In addition, with Grable’s support, Pittsburgh's Remake Learning Network, a coalition of over 200 organizations dedicated to developing innovative approaches to learning in the Pittsburgh region, will host a Week of Remaking Learning next year to celebrate innovative teaching and learning and generate commitments from regional stakeholders.
About the Pittsburgh Remake Learning Network
Remake Learning is a collaborative network of people, projects, and organizations working together to remake learning in schools, libraries, museums, afterschool programs, community centers, and online. Representing more than 200 organizations, Remake Learning members are building a model for collaboration to connect Pittsburgh's regional strengths in formal and informal education, learning research, and technology innovation to create a thriving ecosystem where learning happens anywhere and anytime for all children. Learn more and see how network members are remaking learning in Pittsburgh at remakelearning.org.