Making a Difference in Public High School Education
One of the key partnerships in education has been the Mosher Foundation’s support of the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy, a four-year program at Dos Pueblos High School that uses a project-based approach to learning. It was the foundation’s first foray into supporting an academy in a public high school, and all parties involved see it as a very successful partnership.
”We love what they are doing at the Engineering Academy,” said Ed Birch, president of the Mosher Foundation. “We care about what they are doing passionately. It’s a great example of the type of private-public partnerships we are interested in.”
The academy, known as DPEA, is designed to give students real-world experience. Working in teams, the students get hands-on experience in art, physics and engineering. Because this program is structured to run like a business, with students assisting in the day-to-day operations of the academy, they are prepared to participate in internships and research in both academia and industry when they get to college.
Although the Mosher Foundation has supported several aspects of the DPEA, the most critical funding went towards giving teachers time to prepare new lesson plans and coursework for the new curriculum of “The Art of Engineering.” The DPEA is the only high school in the state that offers such a revolutionary and interdisciplinary curriculum, according to Sandy Seale, president of the DPEA Foundation board of directors.
“It has been the greatest help that we’ve had — the Mosher Foundation partnership has been just amazing,” said Seale, who said that she and the DPEA teachers meet with the leaders of the Mosher Foundation about three times a year to present new curriculum ideas as they are being developed.
“We really want them to be involved on the ground floor,” said Seale about the Mosher Foundation. “The teachers are writing the new curriculum and we ask for feedback from the Mosher Foundation in the early stages.”
For their part, the leaders of the Mosher Foundation have been excited to be involved in a such a dynamic program that offers opportunities for high school students to be prepared not only for college, but for the work place.
“We’ve gotten so much bang for our buck with the funding we’ve given DPEA,” said Yvette Giller, vice president for administration for the Mosher Foundation. “We feel like we are really making a difference in public education with this project.”