Science and tech center for Newark students opens

Officials, executives and educators gathered this week to celebrate the opening of Students 2 Science’s new S2S Newark Technology Center at 765 Broad St. in the city.

The center will serve Newark Public Schools students in grades 5 through 12, bolstering their STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — educational opportunities.

Among those present were Newark Mayor Ras Baraka; his predecessor as mayor, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.); Newark Public Schools interim Superintendent Robert Gregory; and East Hanover-based S2S’s co-founder and president, Paul Winslow.

Another attendee, Tom Gebhardt, the chairman and CEO of Newark-based Panasonic Corp. of North America, awarded a $1.5 million grant to support the center.

“Today, we are thrilled to announce with our partners — Newark Public Schools and the city of Newark — that with the new S2S Newark Technology Center, we are bringing comprehensive, 21st century STEM education to students in the district with our program aimed at inspiring, motivating and educating them to pursue global careers in STEM,” Winslow said in a prepared statement.

The center is a 10,000-square-foot commercial-grade laboratory that will be outfitted with $4 million worth of state-of-the-art instruments. Students will work there alongside volunteer professional scientists to investigate critical world issues, grounded in Newark’s educational curriculum.

“As a longtime resident of Newark, I welcome Students 2 Science with open arms,” Booker said in a statement. “Through its exemplary curriculum, instructors and mentors, Students 2 Science is preparing all Newark students with the skills and workforce experiences they need in order to fully participate in cutting-edge STEM careers.”

Students 2 Science features three key programs: ISAAC, V-Labs and teacher professional development. It is expected to reach more than 32,000 Newark students and their parents as early as 2019.

ISAAC, Improving Students’ Affinity and Aptitude for Careers in STEM, provides real-world instruction to students. V-Labs enable students to take part in hands-on, project-based learning. And the professional development for teachers will include in-lab and in-class support.

“Newark is on the rise, and S2S stands at the forefront of its renewal when it comes to nurturing its future STEM education success,” Baraka said in a statement. “S2S Newark is an innovative, collaborative project that shows just what can be accomplished when the public and private sectors come together for the sake of our students.”