Brownell: A Tech Academy of Innovation

The Tech Academies of Innovation is a partnership with schools in underserved communities to build model programs for teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). 

In the spring of 2016, The Tech Museum of Innovation — in partnership with the Santa Clara County Office of Education and Region 5 After School Partnerships, San Jose State University, RAFT,  San Jose Public Library and Santa Clara County Library — selected Brownell Middle School to join a network of model STEM programs to nurture the next generation of Silicon Valley innovators.

Teams of four to seven educators, comprised of teacher leaders in Grades 6-8 and at least one after-school provider, will enjoy three years of cross-curricular professional development that will help educators to bring engineering design into their classrooms in ways that support Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. Supports will focus on the engineering design process, mechanical engineering, software engineering and 21st-century skills. They will also receive professional development and coaching on effective ways to share this knowledge with their colleagues at other schools and after-school sites.

The goal is to help as many underserved students as possible by providing high-quality professional development through a growing network of engineering education leaders.


Year One – 2016-'17
: Engineering Integration

  • Train team
  • Introduce lessons in after school CalSOAP program
  • At least one Brownell Team participated in Tech Challenge

Year Two – 2017-'18
 Leadership Development

  • Continue team training
  • Introduce lessons to classes (two this year)
  • Create a makerspace for students
  • Support teams participating in Tech Challenge

Year Three – 2018-'19
: Expand program

  • Build systems for expansion
  • Support teams participating in Tech Challenge

Mrs. Vicki Groppe, STEM LEAD