Dunbar Middle School Named NASA Explorer School
May 24, 2007
Dunbar Middle School, a Texas Tech University T-STEM Center partner, has been named one of 26 new NASA Explorer Schools, a distinction that includes $17,500 in funding and a three-year partnership with NASA.
Dunbar Middle School has been named a NASA Explorer School by the nation's space agency.
One of only 26 schools selected nationwide, Dunbar was one of two schools in Texas to receive the honor and the only middle school chosen this year. Dr. Hesiquio Rodriguez Elementary School in Harlingen was also selected.
The Explorer School designation includes $17,500 in funding and a three-year partnership agreement with NASA. As an Explorer School, Dunbar will have behind-the-scenes access to resources from the space agency as well as access to NASA facilities, curriculum and professional development workshops
Teachers will receive support from NASA's Aerospace Education Specialists - educators trained to deliver K-12 curriculum related to NASA missions and research. As teachers and students learn about upcoming missions, Dunbar will have the opportunity to send projects into space onboard actual shuttle launches.
Designed to engage and educate future scientists, the Explorer School program encourages an interdisciplinary approach, inspiring students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
"NASA doesn't deal with just science or social studies; it deals with all areas of the curriculum: math, science, language arts, technology, history - all of it," explained Sandi Davis, a science teacher and member of Dunbar's Explorer School team. "[The Explorer School program] is going to be incorporated into everything we do, even P.E."
Explorer Schools are recommended for the honor by NASA based on a competitive application process. Congress then appoints schools to their three-year term as Explorer Schools based on NASA's recommendation.
Dunbar Middle School's proposal highlighted their relationship with Texas Tech University, a prominent NASA research partner. The Texas Tech University T-STEM Center is partnering with Dunbar to provide professional development training for teachers and support resources as part of the Explorer School program.
The proposal also stressed the importance of the school's role in the Lubbock community.
"Being a NASA Explorer School gives us an opportunity to open up our doors and encourage the community to step out and be a part of what's happening here at Dunbar," said Principal Jimmy Moore. "We have a way to plug the community into seeing education."
The community will have their chance to get involved when the school kicks off the 2007-2008 academic year with an open house before classes begin in August. NASA personnel will be on hand for the festivities, and local and state dignitaries are expected to attend.
NASA Explorer School Program
NASA's Explorer School program was chosen as one of the "Top Innovations in American Government Awards for 2006" by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University. Currently, NASA partners with 150 Explorer School teams across the nation, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
Dunbar Middle School
An engineering magnet school in the Lubbock Independent School District, Dunbar Middle School is one of two Explorer School selected from Texas and the only middle school selected nationwide.