-Vertex commits more than $1 million to support education for BPS
students and to prepare teachers for new science education standards-
-Company dedicates 3,000 square foot learning laboratory at new Fan
Pier headquarters to local community-
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (Nasdaq: VRTX) and Boston Mayor
Thomas M. Menino today announced a three-year, approximately $1.5
million collaboration with the Boston Public Schools (BPS) to support a
range of activities aimed at enhancing science, technology, engineering
and math (STEM) education. As part of the collaboration, Vertex will
focus on two BPS high schools in South Boston — Boston Green Academy and
Excel High School — where programs will aim to increase student
participation and achievement in advanced placement (AP) courses and
prepare teachers for the national "Next Generation Science Standards"
being implemented next year. Vertex also today announced the dedication
of a new 3,000 square foot learning laboratory being constructed at its
future headquarters in the Innovation District. The learning laboratory
will be available for use by BPS and other community groups, allowing
students and teachers to conduct scientific projects alongside Vertex
"We're delighted to join with the BPS to strengthen science education
and make a difference in the lives of students and teachers in our local
schools," said Jeff Leiden, M.D., Ph.D., Chair, President & Chief
Executive Officer of Vertex. "Massachusetts has long been known as a
state where innovation thrives, and we look forward to supporting the
students who will be our future scientists. I hope that in the years
ahead, this collaboration will be a model for other similar programs in
"It is increasingly important for young people to understand and apply
science, technology, engineering and math principles in order to be
successful in our global economy," said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
"Vertex is an example of a rapidly expanding local company that
recognizes the importance of investing in the development of future STEM
leaders who are growing up in its own neighborhood. This collaboration
is more than a financial commitment — it is a commitment by Vertex to
work alongside our students and teachers so that together, the people of
Boston can achieve even greater things in the life sciences in the years
The collaboration includes multiple programs aimed at supporting STEM
education and preparing students for college and STEM-related careers:
• Advanced Placement (AP) Support: The core element of the
collaboration is focused on supporting multiple activities to increase
participation and performance in AP subject areas, including AP Biology,
Chemistry and Physics. The goals of these activities are to reduce the
achievement and access gaps for underserved students and to prepare them
for college-level scientific courses.
• Learning Lab: Vertex today announced the dedication of a 3,000
square foot learning laboratory, which is currently under construction
at its new headquarters at Fan Pier in Boston's Innovation District.
This facility will provide students and teachers the opportunity to work
with cutting-edge technologies and will consist of both laboratory and
classroom space for approximately 30 students. Students from the two
South Boston schools, as well as other local schools and community
groups, will be able to use the Vertex learning lab alongside Vertex
scientists and staff to establish lab and scientific inquiry skills that
could be applied in future high school and college-level science
courses. The Vertex learning lab also will provide teachers with the
resources and experience to help learn about and implement the
instruction techniques expected under the new science education
guidelines. More than 250 Vertex employee volunteers will support this
initiative by staffing the lab during community education activities
throughout the year.
• Teacher-Researcher Fellowship Program: Vertex's collaboration
also recognizes that supporting teachers and encouraging their continued
professional development is vital to student achievement and success at
the university level. As a result, Vertex will sponsor a
teacher-researcher fellowship program where teachers from the two South
Boston schools will be partnered with Vertex scientists and exposed to
current research and laboratory techniques and skills. These teachers
will be tasked with returning to their schools to share these
experiences with their colleagues.
• University Scholarships: Under this collaboration, Vertex will
also award one university scholarship per year to a student from the two
South Boston schools. The scholarship will include full financial
support to attend a Massachusetts state college or university, up to
$25,000 per year per student for four years. These funds will either
provide for the entire cost of attendance for four years or complement
other existing scholarships available to the student to ensure the
student receives full financial support for tuition, fees and other
• Internship Program: Students from each of the two South Boston
schools will be eligible for an internship program at Vertex as part of
the Mayor's Summer Jobs campaign. The program will pair these students
with Vertex scientists and staff to help prepare them for various
careers in the life sciences.
"We are encouraged by Vertex's commitment to supporting STEM education
within the BPS through such a broad and comprehensive program," said,
Dr. Carol R. Johnson, Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools. "The
multi-year commitment helps us plan for the sustainability and growth of
our STEM education programs, and the resources provided through Vertex's
learning lab will be an invaluable asset as we implement the new science
education guidelines across the district."
Importantly, Vertex and the BPS structured this collaboration to ensure
continuity across the various initiatives and to allow for measurable
results within each program. The Mass Math + Science Initiative (MMSI)
will administer certain components of the AP program and will conduct
robust measurement activities on the program's progress. The majority of
the collaboration's components will begin as part of the 2013 school
year and will run for three consecutive years, through 2016.
About the Boston Public Schools (BPS)
The Boston Public Schools, the birthplace of public education in the
United States, serves more than 56,000 pre-kindergarten through grade 12
students in 125 schools.
Vertex creates new possibilities in medicine. Our team discovers,
develops and commercializes innovative therapies so people with serious
diseases can lead better lives. Vertex scientists and our collaborators
are working on new medicines to cure or significantly advance the
treatment of hepatitis C, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis,
epilepsy and other life-threatening diseases.
Founded more than 20 years ago in Cambridge, Mass., we now have ongoing
worldwide research programs and sites in the U.S., U.K. and Canada.
Today, Vertex has more than 2,000 employees around the world, and
Science magazine named Vertex number one on its 2011 list of Top
Employers in the life sciences.
Vertex's press releases are available at www.vrtx.com.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated
Zachry Barber, 617-444-6992
Matthew Wilder, 617-635-9494
Source: Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated
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