Less than three years after Nassau BOCES’s regional high school in Syosset announced that it would bring concentrated studies in science, technology, engineering and math to students in Nassau and Suffolk counties, the program announced in late April that it would cease operations due to lack of funding and enrollment.
The closure leaves dozens of students, including 15 from Malverne and others from Baldwin, Freeport, Oyster Bay and Seaford, without an option to continue their specialized STEM studies. So the Malverne school district is stepping in.
According to Rose Linda Ricca, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, the district is working on a program to replace the Doshi STEM Institute that would be housed in Malverne High School. If space allows, the program could be offered to other schools.
“We’re working on converting an area in the high school for engineering,” Ricca said on Monday. “If the classes aren’t full, we’re going to open it up to other Doshi students that were in the program from other school districts. For a fee, those districts can send their students to our school to complete the program.”
Ricca explained that the plans for the program are still being formulated. She estimated that each class would have an approximate maximum of 20 students.
In the meantime, she said, the high school’s research teacher, Dr. Michael Cressy, is in the process of interviewing the Malverne district’s STEM students in order to offer them summer projects so they can expand their interest in engineering. The district already offers several STEM classes through Nassau BOCES from a non-profit called Project Lead the Way. Its program includes a sequence of engineering classes that begin in a high school student’s sophomore year.
In addition to providing the curriculum, Project Lead the Way offers teachers instruction on how to provide hands-on, project-based STEM instruction. The program has offerings in computer science, biomedical and engineering. Currently, the only high schools that offer this program independent of BOCES are in Bellmore, Merrick, Commack, Garden City, Jericho, Levittown and Southampton.