Highland Park Christian Academy (HPCA) in Landover, Md. recently became one of only 300 schools worldwide to receive the Youth Touch Technology Integration System.

The comprehensive package includes all of the tools necessary to integrate technology into 3rd through 8th grade classrooms. It is designed to provide students with a firmer understanding of ratios, area, coordinates, graphing, and more than 100 other science, technology, engineering, math, language arts, and social studies concepts.

The Goldenrod Research Corporation awarded a matching grant of nearly $20,000 to the school to establish one of the area’s first robotics programs for upper elementary and middle school students.

According to Goldenrod, based in Spalding, Neb., Highland Park is the first school in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to win the grant.

Principal E. Louise White said that the grant, totaling $19,700, will “help to further advance the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program currently in place at the pre-K through middle school academy. Also, the grant will augment the instructional program and, build HPCA’s capacity to support student learning in science and technology.”

The academy applied for the grant during the 2013 Winter Competition. Goldenrod President Lea Melchior said the school’s plans for staff development and “commitment to STEM education” exemplified the qualities sought by the company to boost high-tech education for youth.

“Somebody knows staff development , something that many schools don’t put emphasis on,” said Melchior in a news release.

Melchior started the Youth Touch program in 1997, and has placed robotics equipment in schools in Canada, Australia and throughout the United States.

“The fact that teachers continue to develop and educate teachers is key,” Melchior said. “A lot of people look at staff development as a onetime inoculation. It is an ongoing process.”

As part of the grant, Goldenrod will provide joystick-controlled robots for younger students, closed circuit cameras for use with the robots, and a programmable air table requiring two robots to be used for problem solving, teamwork and communication skills, as well as on-site teacher training and specialized materials on robotics.


Courtney Jacobs

AFRO Staff Writer