Metals recycler Allied Alloys has become the first company to provide STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education from JASON Learning and ISRI to a local high school. This year, the company will sponsor a pilot program for Evan G. Worthing Early College High School in Houston. Worthing serves grades 9 through 12, and has the Houston Independent School District’s (ISD) magnet program for science, math, and technology. According to its website, the high school serves a student body that is nearly 90% Black, and 95% economically disadvantaged.

Allied’s sponsorship gives Worthing students and teachers access to the JASON recycling curriculum, and an active voice with ISRI and JASON throughout the year. Allied will connect with the high school to share ideas, build sustainable relationships, and be an active voice for recycling in their community. “I would love to see Allied as hands-on as possible when it comes to the high school learning aspect of this program,” states Nidhi Turakhia, Allied’s executive vice president and president of ISRI’s Gulf Coast Chapter. “Whatever they require, we are open and we are going to be available.”

Although details are being worked out, Turakhia says the program will provide remote and in-person learning opportunities to account for COVID-19. “We’re hoping that the students will be able to come into our yard,” she says. “We’re also hoping that we’ll also have some tours.” Allied also will help students prepare for ISRI’s annual Youth Poster and Video Contest, where pupils get to show off what they’ve learned about recycling’s essential role in their communities.

Middle schools that feed into Worthing include Attucks, Lawson, and Thomas. Turakhia says Chevron is sponsoring STEM programs at two of the schools, while the Houston ISD is seeking a partner for the remaining school.

JASON Learning was founded in 1989 by oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard. JASON is a nationally acclaimed, exploration-based program that links students everywhere—inside the classroom and out—to real science and scientists through technology intensive, inquiry-based curricula. Since becoming partners in 2014, JASON and ISRI have been helping students and educators understand the importance of the recycling industry and the STEM knowledge and skills required.

“We want to inspire kids to improve their world and their environment,” ISRI President Robin Wiener states. “We also want to show them how a career in science, technology, or engineering can be put to use in the most practical way to make things that people need, while at the same time conserving our natural resources.”

JASON’s next-generation curricula place students in challenging, real-world situations where they are connected with—and mentored by—leading STEM professionals. Unlike traditional textbooks with a 7-10 year shelf life, all materials are housed in a robust online platform that is easily updated, ensuring that all content is “evergreen,” and reflects the latest scientific and technical breakthroughs.

Each five-to-nine week unit may be used as core curricula or as enrichment. Meanwhile, comprehensive professional development for educators increases their knowledge of STEM content and provides instructional strategies for delivering hands-on, interdisciplinary science. “There’ll be participation in two development session s that will take place in the summer and fall,” Turakhia notes. JASON’s Eleanor Smalley, president and CEO, and Debra Hill, regional director—West of the Mississippi and Wisconsin, will be involved in the effort, she says.

At national conferences, and one- or multi-day workshops and seminars, educators use JASON curricula to practice inquiry-based learning, technology integration, and differentiated instruction. JASON also provides educators with free online tools for alignments, assessments, student assignments, lesson plans, and classroom management.

If your chapter or company would like to sponsor JASON’s STEM programs with local schools, contact Natasha Grant, ISRI senior content marketing manager, at (202) 662-8524 or email. Sponsorships are available for as little as $170 for a single teacher up to $5,000 for an entire school.

Photo courtesy of Kindel Media from Pexels.


Dan Hockensmith

Dan Hockensmith

I'm a native Ohioan who since 2014 has called Maryland home. My background includes print, broadcast, and digital journalism; government contracting; and marketing communications.