LTU and DPS launch comprehensive program to encourage students in STEAM

Release Date: August 14, 2015
Sampson-Webber Leadership Academy

With LTU President Virinder Moudgil are (on his left) Kenyuano Jones, principal of Detroit Collegiate College Preparatory High School at Northwestern High School; Karla Craig, principal at Sampson-Webber Leadership Academy; teacher LaShon Clay; and instructional specialist Charlyne Bass. In front are students Akilah Henderson and Ce'Miya Young.

Detroit Public Schools (DPS) and Lawrence Technological University (LTU) have established an innovative partnership to enhance education in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) for students at the Sampson-Webber Leadership Academy. The program is designed to continue through their high school and college careers.

Informational meetings will start in August and run through October. Sampson-Webber Leadership Academy currently has a limited number of openings in this program for students in grades 6-8. Families interested in enrolling should call (313) 240-4377.

Fifty middle school students will become the first Blue Devil Scholars at Sampson-Webber, and 50 additional students will join every year. These students will continue in the program through 12th grade. They will earn college credits and be eligible to attend LTU with scholarship support if they so choose.

Lawrence Tech is making a $3.5 million scholarship commitment to attract larger numbers of DPS students and prepare them for opportunities in STEAM fields.

More than a dozen LTU faculty members will be involved in this partnership with DPS, and the university together with DPS will provide additional resources and funding throughout the life of the project.

“This is an exciting new chapter in Lawrence Tech’s ongoing involvement in Detroit,” LTU President Virinder Moudgil said. “We want to encourage more students from Detroit to attend Lawrence Tech, and this program is designed to prepare them for success both at the college level and in their professional careers in STEAM-related fields.”

The Blue Devil Scholars program is designed to provide a systematic approach to enhance STEAM education for Sampson-Webber students starting in sixth grade and continuing through high school. In the future, the program will expand to grades 3-5, and eventually the process of preparing students for STEAM education will begin in kindergarten.

“Innovative partnerships such as the one created between DPS and LTU are key to the District creating an educational system that is academically competitive,” said Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Darnell Earley. “As we move forward with the transformation of DPS, we will continue to seek out partnerships/programs that enhance our curriculum and provide our students with a clear pathway to success.”

The partnership will also have a professional development component for the teachers selected to participate in this program, including workshops on project-based learning (PBL) and active-collaborative learning (ACL).

Student preparedness will be assessed in middle school. Once the data is evaluated, modules with STEAM content will be created that can be embedded in existing middle school courses. Tutoring by Lawrence Tech students proficient in science and math will supplement the STEAM modules.

In addition to a strong academic component for each year along the way, the program will include extracurricular activities to support and enhance the educational process.

When the Blue Devil Scholars move to high school, they will choose one of five STEAM tracks – art, design, math/science, technology/management or engineering. The students will earn college credits in embedded and dual-enrollment courses taken at LTU and will graduate with a certificate for 12-15 credit hours that will be transferable to Lawrence Tech.

The Blue Devil Scholars who choose to attend Lawrence Tech will receive scholarship support as long as academic performance standards are met.

The components of the program include:

• Sampson-Webber students selected as Blue Devil Scholars will continue through 12th grade at DPS’s Detroit Collegiate Prep at Northwestern High School with specific curricular and co-curricular activities that foster knowledge about STEAM subjects, STEAM careers and skill-based learning in STEAM areas;
• Parents will be engaged in the programming from the beginning to ensure their full support;
• Later in the program the Blue Devil Scholars will receive a personal computer and instruction on how to use it;
• During their high school years, the Blue Devil Scholars will also participate in co-curricular experiences at LTU that will lay the groundwork for completing college successfully and then moving into a good-paying, STEAM-related career.

ford group

Assistant Provost for Enrollment Services Lisa Kujawa (left) and Howard Davis (next to President Moudgil) of LTU's Office of University Advancement worked hard to get the Blue Devil Scholars program up and running. In the middle are LTU Associate Professor Constance Bodurow, who is overseeing a community enrichment project at Sampson-Webber Leadership Academy, and Cortnie Wilson, representing the project’s funder, the Ford Motor Company Fund.

Lawrence Tech already has several programs to encourage high school students to pursue STEAM-related subjects. However, this is the first LTU program that takes a comprehensive approach and starts earlier in the educational process.

“We are confident that students who successfully complete the Blue Devil Scholars program will be well prepared to do well in challenging college courses as soon as they arrive on campus as freshmen,” Moudgil said. “Lawrence Tech is the perfect university for Detroit students to attend for STEAM-related education because we have specialized in those areas for so long.”

For more information about the Blue Devil Scholars program, go to



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