Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School Awarded $100,000 Math Acceleration Grant for Innovative Winter Integration Academy Project

School Partners With Real Pirates Museum of Salem For Real-World Projects Exploring Math

DANVERS, MA – Feb. 20, 2024 – Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School, the largest school on the North Shore of Massachusetts, announced today it has received a $100,000 school-year grant through the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for Math Acceleration to support Grades 9 and 10 student academic achievement. The grant represents Essex Tech’s continued commitment to accelerate student learning by implementing innovative, interactive, relevant, and engaging teaching and learning strategies. 

To meet grant requirements, Essex North Shore offers students a Winter Integration Academy, held during February break, combining high-quality mathematics instruction with an integration project representing the schools’ ongoing commitment to deeper learning. 

Kicking off this week, Essex North Shore will collaborate with the Real Pirates Museum in Salem to engage students in an Academy project called “X Marks the Spot.” During the week, students will learn about the 1717 sinking of The Whydah Gally off the coast of Wellfleet on outer Cape Cod, and the richest pirate treasure of the Golden Age of Piracy, four-and-a-half tons of gold and silver that sank with the wreck. In the Academy project, which will explore the force of currents, waves, sand, and storms, students will use mathematical calculations to predict where they plot the gold and silver is located today, placing a new “X” to mark the spot. 

“This is our fourth year of using Math Acceleration Grant funds to make mathematics highly engaging through our integration learning model,” said Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) Supervisor Tony Di Luna. 

“The Whydah Gally is a real-world project where students get to use mathematics and physics to hypothesize where the treasure may be today,” added Real Pirates Salem Museum Director Bill Golden, who is consulting with Essex Tech throughout the Winter Integration Academy. “How many students in Massachusetts get to learn about lost gold and the compelling story of pirates over February vacation?”

Teachers and student mentors work together with students in the Winter Integration Academy to use mathematical problem-solving to pinpoint where they believe the containers of gold are located. Students who attend these academies earn additional mathematics credit and often return as participants or student mentors themselves in future integration academies throughout the school year.

Essex Tech is using the other half of the Mathematics Acceleration Grant funds to plan its Spring Integration Academy, which will involve the creation of a pollinator garden on campus. This will involve Grade 9 and 10 students who will use mathematical problem-solving and geometric designs while working with students from Sustainable Horticulture and Landscape & Turf Management career technical and agricultural programs. 

“Once again, we appreciate the support given to Essex Tech from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for these funds to accelerate student learning,” said Superintendent-Director Heidi Riccio. “We continue to focus on deeper learning that involves student voice and choice, applied learning, and dedicated time over vacations for students to refine the math skills that they will need to be successful in the workforce beyond high school.”

To learn more about the Math Acceleration Academies Grant:

About Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School

Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School (ENSATS) opened as a four-year Massachusetts public career technical and agricultural high school in September 2014. ENSATS admits students from 17 member communities to the district’s 26 career technical and agricultural programs. Member communities include Beverly, Boxford, Danvers, Essex, Gloucester, Hamilton, Lynnfield, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marblehead, Middleton, Nahant, Peabody, Rockport, Salem, Swampscott, Topsfield, and Wenham. Students from across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts also are eligible to earn admission to Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School’s seven animal science, agricultural, or natural resource programs.

Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical students are immersed in both their academic and career technical and agricultural (CTAE) programs throughout each year of their enrollment. Academic courses are available at the college preparatory, honors, and advanced placement levels. CTAE program placement is determined after participation in a Freshman Exploratory Program. Eligible students may also participate in the Cooperative Education Program, beginning midway through junior year.

Academic and CTAE Program coursework is aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, Massachusetts Career Vocational Technical Education Frameworks, and Massachusetts High School Program of Studies (MassCore).  

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