The Buffalo Public School District's first Science Week kicks off Monday at School 19, the Native American Magnet School, with students showing what they are learning in an innovative program.
With the growth of science and technology jobs in this area, city schools are pushing hard on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs.
Washington is helping with a very rare $10 million grant to city schools. It's the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership (ISEP).
The program is run by SUNY Distinguished Professor Joseph Gardella, a UB chemistry professor. He says the results are already showing up as city students compete in the annual Science Olympiad. Gardella says the program allies local colleges and universities and city schools.
"ISEP is a STEM-focused partnership for teachers, students and partners," Gardella explained.
"It was built around pilot studies funded in 2006. I joined the mayor, at that time, as we announced Oshei Foundation funding for the pilot program and was expanded in 2011 with $10 million of funding from the National Science Foundation. And, we support 12 Buffalo public schools."
Gardella says the program is looking for state money to expand to more schools. What he says is unusual about ISEP is a heavy focus on middle school students to get them interested in science before they hit high school.
To deal with the problem of many students not having computers at home, ISEP is setting up a system to allow students to use their smart phones to access the information they need for classes.