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PRESS RELEASE: El Toro Health Science Academy Selected for Tech Academies of Innovation Partnership


CONTACT: Kimberly Beare, 408-201-6024

PRESS RELEASE— April 18, 2017 — Morgan Hill Unified School District is proud to announce that El Toro Health Science Academy has been selected for the 2017-2020 Tech Academies of Innovation partnership part of The Tech Academy network of model STEM programs. El Toro Health Science Academy will collaboratively develop quality engineering programs for their school, after-school programs and for the district. The Tech Academies of Innovation is an arm of the Tech Museum of Innovation and is a partnership with schools in underserved communities to build model programs for teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

“This partnership with The Tech will deepen the learning experience in the classroom through STEM education,” said El Toro Principal, Darren McDonald. “Our students will grow intellectually through hands-on project-based experiments which could open several avenues for them in the future. I’m proud of my team at El Toro and we are excited to be a part of this program.”

Teachers at El Toro will enjoy three years of cross-curricular professional development to help them bring the engineering design into their classrooms in ways that support Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards. These supports will focus on the engineering design process, mechanical engineering, and software engineering.

“We are very excited to have El Toro Elementary join our select group of 15 Tech Academy schools. El Toro has a strong team of teachers and a passionate principal that are embarking on an exciting journey to focus their school on Health Sciences. The Tech looks forward to helping El Toro’s team to integrate engineering into this focus. We are also excited to now have three Tech Academies in Morgan Hill Union School District, which will help us to make sustained impact on youth. By working closely with all three schools, we are collectively building K-8 engineering pathways,” Christina O’Guinn, Director of School and Afterschool partnerships at The Tech Museum of Innovation

Tech staff look for well-rounded teams with passionate teacher champions, supportive school and district leadership and a strong after-school partner that will allow them to build model engineering programs in the school and spread to other schools in the district.

Selected school teams go through a competitive and in-depth application and selection process spanning 6 months that includes: an information session with a Tech staff member, team formation (selecting at least 3 teacher leaders and after-school partner), completion of a customized application by all 7-10 team members, review/scoring and deliberation by the review committee, site visits to the top sites to meet all team members and final deliberation and final selection by the review committee. Following selection, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is formed with each school and after-school partner.