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Berkshire Bank Foundation Invests in Baystate Charter Academy

SPRINGFIELD — Berkshire Bank Foundation is investing in Baystate Academy Charter Public School’s (BACPS) new program, Project Lead the Way, a nationally award-winning high-school biomedical science curriculum.

“Berkshire Bank Foundation is committed to education in Hampden County and the region. This $20,000 grant to Baystate Academy helps deliver on the school’s promise of world-class biomedical science education for Springfield high-school students,” said Lori Gazzillo, director of Berkshire Bank Foundation.

The three-year-old, college-preparatory, public charter school in Springfield for grades 6-12 is focused on science, math, and health careers. By integrating the nation’s leading provider of STEM education, Project Lead the Way (PLTW), into its academic program, BACPS will create a path to high achievement in science, technology, math, and particularly the biomedical sciences for high-school students.

To prepare students for the global economy, the PLTW biomedical science curriculum inspires innovating thinking and collaborative learning using digital tools, and empowers students to creatively solve real-world problems. The four-year program builds understanding of the principles of biomedical science, human-body systems, medical interventions, and biomedical innovation. Baystate Academy high-school students will study physiology, biology, chemistry, and research processes, and be exposed to immunology, genetics, and other medical careers through hands-on projects and intensive learning expeditions.

Research has shown that PLTW students score higher on state math tests, are more prepared for college, attend at higher rates, and earn wages 13.6% higher than non-PLTW students. In addition, many colleges actively recruit PLTW students and offer preferred admissions, scholarships, and course credit. The intensive program includes teacher training, classroom learning, and rigorous evaluation standards.

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