Schools and educational services
Schools represent a large and loyal customer segment for OPT. We continue to aggressively support schools by providing free consultation, new products, discounted pricing and terms for educational institutions. We expect our support for schools to expand in coming years. We have also encouraged our manufacturing partners to join us in supporting schools. Several manufacturers have answered the call and the accrued savings are passed along to all qualified EDU customers.
In recent years, OPT has also offered full observatory design consulting and installation services specifically for schools and research institutions. More schools are pursuing observatories for advanced studies as well as research. OPT is eager to provide superlative equipment options and expertise.
Astronomy education, STEM and the OPT Citizens Science Foundation
America has become acutely aware that our competitiveness depends upon a knowledgeable and skilled workforce. Specifically, our future depends upon American young people’s proficiency in the STEM fields (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Unfortunately only 28% of American high school students express an interest in STEM studies and that figure is reduced to half by the time of college senior year and graduation.
Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, national STEM education strategy promotes integrating them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications. Astronomy because it is fun and unites many disciplines is being looked to as one way to help educators reach STEM goals in a fun yet pragmatic way.
Through the OPT Citizens Science Foundation, we are lending a hand. Working with local high school teachers, we hope to introduce Astronomy through a solar scope program in the classroom. The goal is to provide teachers with state curriculum support, lesson plans, training and the equipment to excel. The Foundation is piloting this program in San Diego County but hopes to expand to the rest of California and other states in the near future.