Westfield Public Schools awarded grant for new science curriculum

Lauren Figy, Supervisor of Science Technology and Engineering, Westfield Public Schools. (THE WESTFIELD NEWS FILE PHOTO)

WESTFIELD – The school district was recently awarded a grant of $62,700 by the One8 Foundation for a new applied science curriculum for grades 6 to 8 in the Westfield Intermediation and Middle schools.

Science, Technology & Engineering Supervisor Lauren Figy Cadigan said OpenSciEd is a non-profit organization that brought together educators, philanthropic organizations, curriculum and professional development providers to develop the open-sourced curriculum, composed of high-quality, freely available science instructional materials.

The curriculum has been nationally vetted and has gone through screening processes and revisions. It is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and is considered a high quality curriculum by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

Figy Cadigan said the curriculum committee started looking at OpenSciEd last year, and she went through a three-day training at DESE on the curriculum before the COVID shutdown last March. The grant also includes training for teachers and materials for the classes.

Figy Cadigan said they will start the three-year roll out for the curriculum in the fall for grades 6 to 8. There are a total of six units for each grade level; WPS will introduce three units per grade level this fall and then build on it. Units include Light & Matter, Weather/Water Cycling, Chemical Reactions and Matter Transformation, and Sound Waves.
40 schools from 23 districts received grants from the One8 Foundation to support OpenSciEd implementation starting in the 2021-2022 school year. In addition to grant funding, members of the Massachusetts OpenSciEd program receive implementation support, priority access to in-state training, and additional professional learning resources and student programming through Mass STEM Hub, a program of the One8 Foundation.
“Westfield Middle School and Westfield Intermediate School are so excited to implement this curriculum. The (grant) will be instrumental in training our educators and providing our students with hands-on, minds-on learning.” said Figy Cadigan.

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