Montage of our solar system
JPL education specialist Art Hammon gives students a lesson on technology using a remote control rover.
+ Slide show: Explorer Schools
NASA today announced the selection of 50 new Explorer Schools, including five from Southern California that will be partnered with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. NASA Explorer Schools are the heart of a unique educational program that reaches elementary to high- school pupils in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

The five Southern California schools selected to partner with JPL are: 96th Street Elementary and Florence Griffin Joyner Elementary in Los Angeles; Charles Kranz Intermediate in El Monte; Village Academy High in Pomona; Nestle Avenue Elementary in Tarzana and Columbia Elementary in Perris. They join nine other schools that are already partnered with JPL.

Since its inauguration in 2003, the Explorer School program has established three-year partnerships annually with 50 schools. The program partners NASA centers with school teams composed of students, teachers and administrators serving grades four through nine, from diverse communities across the country. Schools in the program are eligible to receive grants up to $17,500 over the three-year period to support student engagement in science and mathematics.

"NASA will need a robust workforce to carry out the Vision for Space Exploration. The Explorer School program looks to fulfill the vision by inspiring the next generation of explorers," said NASA's Chief Education Officer, Dr. Adena Williams Loston. "The program provides the opportunity to explore, discover and understand through educational activities. It includes fun, challenging adventures tailored to promote learning and studying science, mathematics, engineering and technology," she said.

During the three-year partnership, NASA Explorer School teams work with agency personnel and other partners to develop and implement strategic plans for staff and students. The plans promote and support the use of NASA content and programs to address the teams' local needs in mathematics, science, and technology education.

Students have access to unique NASA resources and materials to help them learn about agency careers in mathematics, science, engineering, and technology.

Each summer local teachers participate in one-week professional development workshops at JPL. They also receive $500 stipends for both summer and school year activities. The Explorer School program also reaches out to the students' families and communities by providing access to interactive NASA learning adventures on the Internet and other special opportunities.

"We're excited about the expansion of the program and the addition of these five new school teams," said David Seidel, Explorer School manager at JPL. "The next three years represent a lot of opportunity for both the schools and JPL."

Eighty-seven percent of all NASA Explorer Schools are in high poverty areas, and 76 percent represent predominantly minority communities. Ninety-eight percent of the 2005 class is in high poverty areas, and 82 percent in predominantly minority communities; 19 are in Hispanic communities.

The Vision for U.S. Space Exploration is a bold new course into the cosmos, a journey that will return the Space Shuttle safely to flight, complete the construction of the International Space Station, take humans back to the Moon and eventually to Mars and beyond.

"Perhaps someone from a NASA Explorer School will be the first to walk on Mars," Loston said.

For a list of the Explorer Schools on the Internet, visit:

For more information about JPL Education Programs on the Internet, visit:

To see a photo slide show of JPL's Explorer Schools visit:

For information about NASA Education programs on the Internet, visit:

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Internet, visit:

News Media Contact

Natalie Godwin (818) 354-0850
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Dwayne Brown (202) 358-1726
NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC