EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

August 23, 2013

Kennedy learns about new ways of teaching math and science

LAWRENCE — Two city educators got a rare chance to share their teaching methods with a national audience.

Orlando Torres, a fourth grade teacher at Guilmette Elementary School, talked about the vegetable garden his class created with the help of GroundworkLawrence to get a hands-on science learning experience.

Jaimie Maguire, a third grade teacher at South Lawrence East Elementary School, explained how she is using iPads to help her students enhance their math skills.

Torres and Maguire made their presentations Wednesday for U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, who visited the city as part of his statewide Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) tour across Massachusetts.

Kennedy, the honorary chair of Gov. Deval Patrick’s STEM Advisory Council, is doing the tour to highlight the state’s leadership in education and workforce development.

Kennedy stopped at the SPARK Academy in Lawrence to see the STEM innovation happening in the city.

About 15 people gathered for the round-table discussion, including two students from Torres’ fourth grade class.

“He’s (Kennedy) hoping to take what he saw and take it back to Washington,” Emil Kuruvilla, a spokesman for Merrimack Valley Sandbox, said yesterday.

Merrimack Valley Sandbox is a nonprofit agency that promotes entrepreneurship and innovation in the cities of Lawrence and Lowell.

“Things happening in Lawrence hopefully can be a model for the rest of the U.S. as far as STEM education. This was a chance for Lawrence to become a leader in STEM education,” Kuruvilla said.

Kennedy is a member of the House Committee on Science and Technology and also the Congressional STEM Caucus. He’s in the second week of his STEM tour.

“It was evident to everyone Congressman Kennedy is genuinely interested in STEM education and gets how important it is,” Lawrence Public Schools Superintendent/Receiver Jeffrey C. Riley said.

“We were excited he decided to make Lawrence part of his tour, and by the end I think our teachers and staff made him glad he did. We look forward to expanding STEM opportunities for Lawrence students going forward,” he said.

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