NORWALK — Local public schools and the Norwalk Marine Aquarium will receive approximately $1.3 million in federal funding to expand a partnership that allows students to study marine science.

The district and aquarium operate the Academy of Marine Science at Brien McMahon High School, and the new funding will enable the creation of a K-12 marine science pathway at Jefferson Marine Science Elementary School and the West Rocks Middle School.

The academy is one of 14 projects in Connecticut’s 4th District that U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., has advocated for as part of the fiscal year 2023 omnibus appropriations agreement that Congress approved. at the end of last year. In total, the District’s projects have brought in nearly $24 million in funding through legislation.

Norwalk Public Schools Superintendent Alexandra Estrella thanked Himes and said the district is fortunate to have a partnership that allows students to learn first-hand from the aquarium’s expertise and visit it.

“This pathway will provide the opportunity to explore, engage and interact with this unique ecosystem for more students in our district,” she said in a statement.

According to a statement from the Norwalk Marine Aquarium, the program will teach students about the wide range of opportunities in marine science and marine operations, which will prepare them to enter the workforce and “secure good, well-paying jobs.” in a critical sector of the local economy. »

“This funding will catalyze and dramatically expand the partnership between Norwalk Public Schools and the Maritime Aquarium to create an unparalleled educational pathway in marine science for K-12 students, improving the quality of STEM education. while creating employment opportunities for their graduation,” said the Maritime Aquarium President. and CEO Jason Patlis said in a statement.

The first stage is a six-month program development period involving teachers and aquarium staff, with a pilot planned for early 2023, according to the aquarium.

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