The Verizon Foundation is focused on improving student engagement and achievement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and sees the use of technology—when paired with professional development for teachers—as a powerful way to accelerate learning.
The Foundation awarded a series of $20,000 Innovate Learning Grants to help schools advance STEM instruction and learning, pairing it with the effective use of technology.
Now, we're sharing the story of Washington High School of Information Technology (WHSoIT).
Preparing Students For the Challenges of Our Ever-Changing Global Society
WHSoIT uses technology to drive teaching and learning, creating opportunities for students to graduate prepared to compete and succeed. The school is partnered with the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment board and its “Jobs for America’s Graduates” (JAG) program, which targets students who have dropped out of school or are at risk of doing so. Through the JAG program, WHSoIT students learn the basics necessary to graduate and skills for career and personal development.
This year, WHSoIT began incorporating STEM-related experiences for its students. Thanks, in part, to the Innovate Learning Grant from Verizon, students have been introduced to mobile app development through methods like the MIT App Inventor.
In May, the JAG students from WHSoIT attended an annual Career Development Conference, during which they competed against other JAG students in a variety of categories, including a Verizon Mobile App Challenge. The students created an app called “M-MO” (Money Making Opportunities), which targets job seekers age 14-19 and assists them with entry-level job search, work readiness resources and internship opportunities. They presented the app “Shark Tank-style” in front of their peers and a panel of judges from the community, taking the top spot in the competition.
Bryan Murphy of the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board said Verizon’s Innovate Learning Grant enhanced their programming and provided additional learning opportunities to prepare students for the Career Development Conference and beyond.
The students receive IT career coaching through various guest speakers from UW-Milwaukee, Milwaukee Area Technical College, LinkedIn, Harley-Davidson, Direct Supply, SC Johnson Wax and GE Healthcare.
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