In a classroom setting, NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe today introduced the Agency’s newest education initiative, the NASA Explorer Schools program. Four schools and one Texas school district were unveiled as the NASA Explorer Schools for Johnson Space Center’s eight-state region.

The Fort Worth Independent School District in Texas is a three-school partnership with the district. Partners are Stripling Middle School, Monnig Middle School and Dunbar Sixth Grade School. The other schools are Vista Middle School, Las Cruces, N.M.; Tohajiilee Community School of the Eastern Navajo Agency at Tohajiilee (N.M.) Reservation; Solen-Cannonball School District, Solen, N.D., of the Solen-Cannonball School District on Standing Rock Indian Reservation; and the Pender (Neb.) Public School.

Although the NASA Explorer School program has customized benefits for students as well as families, the educators/administrators and schools themselves have immediate and direct benefits from the program. As a NASA Explorer School, NASA will work with them to improve student learning. The 2003 program will focus on the fifth-to-eighth grades.

In addition to customized, sustained professional development programs, schools, educators and administrators will be invited to an all-expenses paid one-week professional development workshop at their designated NASA Field Center. JSC will host its Explorer School Workshop July 19 through July 26.

Each individual will receive a $500 stipend for workshop participation, as well as $500 stipends for implementing the resulting team action plan during the 2003 school year. The schools each will receive grants up to $10,000 (subject to availability of funds) to help implement the NASA Explorer School team action plan. Schools will be encouraged to develop associations with professional organizations.