Kean University Launches NJ-China STEM Sister School Program for K-12

”University Holds International STEM Education Forum at Wenzhou-Kean University in China” -Kean University

UNION, N.J. ­–– Kean University has launched an international sister school program between K-12 schools in New Jersey and China that focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) innovation and development.

The program — a partnership between Kean University, Wenzhou-Kean University and the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Education — pairs elementary, middle and high schools in New Jersey with counterparts in Zhejiang Province, China, where Kean’s Wenzhou-Kean University (WKU) campus is located.

The official launch of the program came at a STEM forum held recently at WKU that was attended by nearly 400 education leaders from both New Jersey and China.

“New Jersey is a hub of the innovation economy, and we know that to keep that economy thriving, we need young people trained in STEM and STEAM — which includes the arts — to be the visionaries of the future. That is what we are doing through this program,” said Dawood Farahi, Ph.D., president of Kean University.

The Zhejiang Sister School Cooperation Program links schools in 11 school districts in New Jersey with 11 schools in Zhejiang Province, China. The participants agree to regularly communicate in an exchange of resources, course materials and teaching methods to generate global interest in STEM and STEAM education. In addition, the schools will hold cooperative school activities, such as camps, academic exchanges, field trips and other projects.

“Instilling a lifetime of passion for discovery, learning and innovation in our children is what will make STEM transformational for the future,” said Keith Bostian, Ph.D., dean of Kean’s New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics on its Union campus. “Bringing different experiences, cultures and systems together and being creative will help us get there. This is our opportunity to shape the future.”

At the Zhejiang-New Jersey STEM Innovation Education Forum, held Saturday, June 1, educators from New Jersey and China presented on STEM practices and methodologies. Martha Osei-Yaw, Ed.D., principal of Alexander D. Sullivan School in Jersey City, presented on Bridging the Gap Between Early and Late STEM Education.

“It was an amazing experience, being able to learn about how STEM education is being implemented in China,” Osei-Yaw said. “This partnership will help us see what others are doing across the world and how we can incorporate some of the many strategies that they are bringing to the classroom in China. It gives us ideas on how to enhance the work that we are doing in our schools and around the state.”

Kim Case, manager of the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network and executive director of the Research & Development Council of New Jersey, also presented and assisted in organizing the forum.

“We were able to share with the Wenzhou-Kean University STEM forum attendees the importance of developing a network that connects STEM stakeholders at the state level and supports STEM learning outcomes being driven at the grassroots level,” she said.

As part of the education forum, New Jersey educators visited Zhejiang schools to see firsthand the Chinese approach to STEM education. Delegates from the Chinese schools will come to Kean’s Union campus for a two-week training session in October, and while at Kean, they will also visit each New Jersey school that is part of the sister school program.

The New Jersey schools participating in the sister school partnership are: Alexander D. Sullivan School, Jersey City; Linden elementary schools No. 8 and No. 10; Dr. Albert Einstein Academy No. 29, Elizabeth; Barley Sheaf Elementary School, Flemington-Raritan School District; Chatham Middle School; Edison and Roosevelt intermediate schools, Westfield; Delran Township School District; Asbury Park High School; Roselle Park High School; Bergen County Academies, Hackensack; and Middlesex County Academy for Science, Math & Engineering Technologies, Edison.