The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) & STEM Education

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law on December 10, 2015 by President Obama. This act builds on and revises the 2002 No Child Left Behind act.

A shift to more local education oversight is among the many changes that will come as the act is implemented across the nation. Other important changes are the inclusion of engineering and technology into science assessments, more support for STEM specific specialty schools, and the creation of a STEM Master Teacher Corps program. The Math Science Partnership Program will no longer be funded by federal money, but James Brown, the executive director of the STEM Education Coalition, feels that many more STEM education projects will be supported through ESSA even without the MSP program.

The White House has issued  this Fact Sheet about ESSA and the changes you may see in your district.



Grant Opportunity for K-12 schools – School Garden

bird-posing-in-garden, a project of the Cornell Cooperative Extension, is offering up to 10 school teachers $2000 to support the building or revitalization of school gardens. Preference is being given to bird, pollinator, native habitat, rain, and other natural projects.

The deadline to submit is February 15, 2016.

Visit their website to learn more!  Ask us how Brockport Research Institute can help you apply.


STEM Funding Available for 2016

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) has announced 2016 available education funding from the federal government.  The FY 2016 Omnibus  Appropriations Bill was passed in December 2015 and gives the Department of Education a $1.2 billion increase over the 2015 level. You can read the entire announcement HERE.

logo NSTA

STEM funding received a significant  boost because of this bill. Several available grants provide money for  Math Science Partnerships (MSP), 21st Century Learning Community Centers, and National Science Foundation programs, among others. Brockport Research Institute can assist your school or district apply for any number of the grants listed HERE.

To contact us please send an email to or call us at (585) 703-5400.


Dr. Silverstone in the Tompkins Weekly

Dr. Sara Silvertone’s participation in  The Mud Pies to Dinosaur Bones STEM conference made headlines in November when she was interviewed by the Tompkins Weekly. 

The article notes that Dr. Silverstone explained that the “educational system needs to value struggle and failure, because that is how children learn to ask questions, test hypotheses and refine their research.”

Click this LINK to read the full article by Sue Smith-Heavenrich.



Discovery Gardens Awarded $3,000 grant

For the second year in a row, the Onslow Master Gardener Volunteers have been awarded a grant from the Lovett Foundation. In 1992 renowned author, Charlie Lovett, created the Lovett Foundation grant program to help support non-profit organizations in North Carolina. This year, the $3,240 grant will go toward the purchase of mulch and compost for the Discovery Gardens in Onslow County.

The Discovery Gardens are a combination of demonstration/teaching gardens and recreational areas designed to educate people about land stewardship practices; celebrate the bond between people and plants through educational activities; provide gardening experiences for all ages and abilities; and inspire the creation of sustainable, ornamental, and edible gardens. The Onslow County Master Gardener Volunteers have been instrumental in the development, upkeep, and growth of the Discovery Gardens since 2007.


The Lovett Foundation is a unique philanthropic group specializing in funding grants that reach beyond the ordinary. Award recipients have received funds to purchase everything from a refrigerator to a truckload of processed rubber.

Last year the Lovett Foundation award helped the Onslow County Master Gardeners purchase safe and comfortable outdoor seating for Discovery Garden learning spaces.

Brockport Research Institute has assisted the Onslow Master Gardener Volunteers in their effort to seeks funds for the Discovery Gardens since 2013.


BRI Working on Several Evaluation Projects

Recent Brockport Research Institute evaluation projects include a three-year, $400,000 New York State Education Department (NYSED) grant to improve science teaching in the Rochester City School District; a two-year, $200,000 NYSED grant to lower the high school drop-out rate in Ithaca City School District; and a three-year, $1.2 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to engage SUNY Brockport education students in increasing the use of computational science in their teaching practice. In addition, we are working with the Cooperative Extension of Onslow County, North Carolina to support their gardening and resource conservation demonstration project, and conducting an energy behavior pilot project for the New York State Energy Research and Development Administration (NYSERDA).


Contact us to find out how we can help you with your evaluation projects.



From Mud Pies to Dinosaur Bones: Dr. Silverstone Speaks at STEM Conference

On October 24th Dr. Sara Silverstone, CEO and founder of Brockport Research Institute and director of the Empire STEM Learning Network, Finger Lakes Region, spoke at the American Association of University Women’s conference at the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, NY. The focus of this year’s conference was encouraging girls to participate in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities and careers.

stem logo

Dr. Silverstone discussed the current research about women in STEM and how the industry can further promote girls and women in STEM careers.

Read more about the conference and Dr. Silverstone’s talk in the Cornell Chronicle.



Discovery Gardens of Onslow

Brockport Research Institute is proud to partner with the Onslow County Master Gardener Volunteers of Onslow County, North Carolina as they work to support the Discovery Gardens.

The Discovery Gardens is an educational garden space that provides visitors of all ages with the opportunity to learn, recreate, and interact with nature in the garden.  These gardens encompass a 4-acre tract of land adjacent to the Onslow County, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Office and Farmers Market.  The gardens will include: a visitor’s center, ornamental pond, classic southern garden, picnic lawn, children’s farm garden, raised bed vegetable garden, shade gardens, pollinator garden, wildlife garden and more.

The gardens are intended to be a place where the community can come together to learn about appropriate plant choices and care, celebrate the bond between people and plants, provide gardening experiences for all ages and abilities, and inspire the creation of sustainable ornamental and edible gardens


In 2014 Brockport Research Institute assisted the Master Gardeners as they applied for a grant from The Lovett Foundation. The Foundation subsequently granted the Master Gardeners  $3,200 to purchase high-quality benches for the Garden’s outdoor learning stations. These benches now provide safe, comfortable, and accessible seating for the students who participate in the Growing Minds programming: the program has served over 250 students per year since 2008, and evaluations that are collected after every class indicate strong support by the teachers regarding the quality of instruction that we offer.

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The comfort that the benches provide has also served to make the Discovery Gardens more accessible to the many additional visitors who frequent the garden, including families, young children, veterans, and senior citizens.

Brockport Research Institute proudly continues to aid the Onslow County Master Gardeners as they seek funding to expand and improve the Discovery Gardens.