NEW BEDFORD - New Bedford Public Schools has received a major grant from Siemens Corporation to expand the science education program within the district. Mayor Jon Mitchell, Superintendent Dr. Pia Durkin, and representatives from Siemens announced the grant during a press conference at the William H. Taylor Elementary in the Sea Lab Building.

The money will be used by the school system to expand the reach of the science program even further. Local funding made the program possible for grades 4-8, and will expand down to the third grade with a $40,000 grant from Siemens.

Dana Rasmussen represented Siemens at the press conference, and says that the $40,000 grant will be up to the school system to spend on what they feel is necessary for their science curriculum. He also says that Siemens will provide New Bedford Public Schools with tools and supplies to further the education of energy conservation.

“We have a variety of other materials that we'll also be bringing in on top of that $40,000 grant to include things like windmill kits, to integrate windmill energy into the curriculum, solar cars, things of that nature,” Rasmussen said.

Superintendent of New Bedford Public Schools Dr. Pia Durkin says that as space exploration and climate science further develop, they will become critical parts of the science curriculum for future generations. The money used from the grant won't limit spending on the science program to energy development as it will help support all avenues of science that the students may be interested in.

“The next generation's science standards explore all areas of units of study,” Durkin said. “You know as well as I what's in the media about climate change, about making correct information about that, about looking at the world and space. Those are going to be very critical factors.”

Siemens also looks at giving out grants to school systems like New Bedford's as a way to invest in a future workforce. The theory being the more children Siemens can get interested in science, particularly climate science, will build scientists of future generations and ultimately for Siemens, as Mayor Mitchell highlighted for a select group of fifth graders who attended the conference.

“It's really important for Siemens to invest in schools, to invest in training, and to invest in you guys because they look at you guys and say 'You know that's our future. You guys sitting right here are our future leaders,” Mitchell said.