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YUHSB Awarded Major STEM Grant

The Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy/Yeshiva University High School for Boys(YUHSB) has received a $191,000 grant from a fund set up by Caroline and Joseph Gruss to upgrade and extend its STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) curriculum. “Given the importance of STEM disciplines to career success in the 21st century, we are thrilled to get this vote of confidence in our efforts to bring the benefits of STEM education to all of our students,” said Rabbi Joshua Kahn, head of school at YUSHB.

(l-r): YUHSB’s Hanan Berger, Benny Jacob and GJ Neiman with the robotic arm they built together. (l-r): YUHSB’s Hanan Berger, Benny Jacob and GJ Neiman with the robotic arm they built together.

Over the last five years, YUHSB has introduced STEM-related courses and activities into its curriculum, such as a two-year Scientific Engineering Program, AP Computer Science, Robotics and classes in coding. In 2014, the robotics team, despite the fact that it had only been in existence for two years, took fifth place out of 30 teams in the FIRST Tech Challenge regional competition, and did equally well in 2015, placing in the top ten of 35 teams.

The grant will allow YUHSB to pursue a two-step STEM building program. Step one will be to strengthen its current curriculum through more courses and more opportunities for students to interact with STEM experts, design innovative projects, and enroll in more competitions and events to showcase their inventions. Step two will involve an infrastructure build-out of a Makerspace and computer labs, which will provide the facilities for students to create and refine projects.

Kahn is especially enthusiastic about diffusing STEM skills throughout the student body. “STEM work focuses on problem-solving, critical thinking, and hands-on and collaborative learning in the service of innovation and creativity. These skills are important to every area of study, STEM and non-STEM alike, and we will be equipping our graduates with portable and shareable abilities they can apply to anything they do in their careers.”

Megan HLZacks, science department chair at YUHSB, is excited by the possibilities the grant opens up for more inventiveness and ingenuity among the students. “Through this kind of inquiry- and project-based learning,” she said, “students push themselves to innovate and create solutions to everyday problems, impressing themselves in the process by what they are able to accomplish through previously untapped talents.”

This grant follows a similar grant for $191,000 given to The Samuel H. Wang Yeshiva University High School for Girls from the Gruss Foundation to put in place an innovative STEM program.