GNO Collaborative Teachers

Benjamin Franklin High School Launches Gateway to STEM Saturday Program

Date: August 29th, 2019


CONTACT:  Eve Peyton ’98, (504) 503-0062,

Benjamin Franklin High School Launches Gateway to STEM Saturday Program NEW ORLEANS (Aug. 14, 2019) – Benjamin Franklin High School is excited to announce some changes to its celebrated Gateway Program for the 2019-2020 school year. The Gateway Program, which was piloted in the 2014-2015 academic year to help prepare eighth graders at three local middle schools for the rigors of high school math, expanded to include English and robotics and last year served 19 different middle schools in the city.  

This year, the program has shifted to a focus on science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, and will accept five eighth grade students from every public school in the city in order to open the opportunity to as many schools as possible. Students who join the program will learn about coding, robotics, and the design-build process on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., beginning on Sept. 14 and running through the end of 2019. The link to join is here or at “STEM empowers today’s youth to be tomorrow’s leaders,” said Teresa Burchette, Ben Franklin teacher and director of the Gateway to STEM Program. Burchette also serves as club sponsor and mentor for Franklin’s robotics team, which competes around the country and placed second in the 2019 world robotics championship. 

The program is funded through generous donations from Capital One, the Brown Foundation, Cox Communications, Stennis Education Gateway (NASA), and Baptist Community Ministries. “It is so exciting to have sponsors helping us offer such an innovative STEM program to local middle-schoolers,” said Francoise McHugh, grants coordinator at Ben Franklin. “This will open STEM pathways to our youth and expose them to avenues that will potentially lead to higher-paying careers in their future.”  Ben Franklin teacher Jay Weisman, who will be offering coding instruction for the program, agrees: “By introducing 21st-century skills to middle school students, we have the ability to spark interest and even innovation in them from a young age. These students will leave the Gateway to STEM Program having been exposed to a wide variety of STEM topics, many of which are traditionally not present in their core curriculum. We at Franklin are excited to have this opportunity to open our doors to students from around the city and build a growing community of active engineers, roboticists, coders, and more.” In addition to the Gateway to STEM Program, Ben Franklin’s Society for Women Engineers will be holding a Back to School STEM Day for girls in grades 3-8 on Saturday, Aug. 24.

Registration information can be found at 

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Eve Peyton at 
(504) 503-0062 or 

About Benjamin Franklin High School Benjamin Franklin High School, New Orleans’ most outstanding public charter school, has been preparing students for success through academic achievement since its founding in 1957. Consistently ranked as a “top public high school in the nation” by U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, and Business Week, Franklin has received the highest School Performance School in Louisiana, making it the No. 1 public school in the state, year after year. Ben Franklin is repeatedly named a National Blue Ribbon School, producing Presidential and National Merit Scholars each year. The exceptional students, faculty, and staff at Ben Franklin are the best and the brightest in New Orleans. For more information, please visit  

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