KLEIN, TX – Hands-on education took a giant leap forward in the Klein ISD last week with the addition of the STEAM Express mobile classroom.
Donated by the Klein ISD Education Foundation to the district for the students of the Klein ISD, the STEAM Express mobile classroom is set to join the Reading Express mobile library as a traveling classroom. While the Reading Express’ focus is offering summer reading opportunities to students who might not otherwise have access to a library, the STEAM Express will travel the district year-round to teach students about Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.
“We’ve been looking forward to this day for more than two years,” said Judy Rimato, associate superintendent for communications & planning. “What started as a concept idea has grown over these two years into the wonderful STEAM Express.”
The Foundation began working on the concept for the STEAM Express in the summer of 2012. Fundraising began with the 2013 Diamonds & Denim Jubilee celebrating Klein ISD’s 75th anniversary where $105,000 in donations from community members and business partners enabled the foundation to order the custom-built STEAM Express trailer in early 2014. Over the past year, the Foundation raised an additional $145,000.
The Foundation has invested $225,000 for the custom-built trailer and materials and $73,500 for the 2015 Freightliner truck that will pull the trailer. Generous in-kind donations of technology totaled nearly $50,000.
According to Cindy Doyle, Education Foundation director, the STEAM Express is another way for the foundation to provide innovative and creative methods to enrich and expand programs to meet the district’s stated mission of excellence in education.
“Students will learn like a scientist in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts and math,” she said. “Students will gather data in real time and do field investigations while learning how each subject is utilized in real world applications.”
When students enter the STEAM Express mobile classroom, they will be greeted with colorful, area-specific graphics designed exclusively for the trailer to aide in the teaching of STEAM-related topics. The STEAM Express also features learning stations equipped with touch-screen computers dedicated to Architecture, Geology, Engineering, Robotics, Health, Meteorology, and Space Exploration. The purpose of the STEAM Express is to inspire young minds to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.
“I hope that by introducing students to the subjects contained within the STEAM Express, we can encourage them to consider educational courses that will guide them to STEAM careers in the future,” said Bill Nebeker, STEAM Express program coordinator. “This is all about inspiring young minds to expand what they think is possible. The STEAM Express will allow us to accomplish that goal in fun, student-engaging ways.”
The STEAM Express is a 48-foot-long custom-built enclosed trailer built by Featherlite Trailers and has 40 feet of classroom space. It includes a wheelchair lift, to ensure access for all Klein ISD students, a dropdown stage with a 19 foot awning and a 20 kilowatt diesel generator to power the air conditioning system and computer displays. The trailer weighs in at 16,960 pounds and will be towed by a 2015 Freightliner Industrial Truck.
PBK Architects Inc., one of the largest sponsors of the STEAM Express, donated employee experience and company resources to design and perfect the trailer interior while working with Featherlite Trailers’ engineers on everything from the wiring infrastructure and safety requirements to the interior placement of learning stations.
HP also took a leading role in support of the STEAM Express by donating computer hardware to make the trailer one of the best-equipped mobile labs in the nation. HP donated one 55-inch monitor, one 47-inch monitor, eight EliteOne 800 G1 All-in-One Business PCs, 15 Pro x2 laptop-tablet hybrids, one ZBook 15, and two HP Slate 21 Pros.
Additional donors recognized on the back of the trailer by their logo are the Lincoln Family Trust Foundation, PBK Architects Inc., HP, Campus Kids LLC, BBVA Compass Foundation, Featherlite Trailers, Fujitsu, SportChassis/Featherlite of Texas, Thomas C. Helm, HEB Tournament of Champions, Hubbell Wiring Device-Kellems, AmeriStar Realtors, The Family of Kathleen Ann Rafferty True, CDW-G, Houston Northwest Medical Center, Tandus Centiva, Absolute Software, MOD Pizza, Verizon, ETA Hand to Mind, Texas Instruments, Fisher Scientific, Texas Education Foundation Network, and eInstruction.
Since 2001, the Klein ISD Education Foundation has awarded more than $1.16 million in educator grants to the teachers of the Klein ISD. The Foundation can be contacted through their website at http://kleinisd.net/KEF.
For more information on the STEAM Express mobile classroom contact Cindy Doyle, Education Foundation Director, at (832) 249-4753 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.