Jan. 5—NORWALK — The local public schools and The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk will receive about $1.3 million in federal funding to expand a partnership that allows students to study marine science.

The district and aquarium operate the Marine Science Academy at Brien McMahon High School, and the new funding will allow the creation of a K-12 Marine Science Pathway at Jefferson Marine Science Elementary School and West Rocks Middle School.

The academy is one of 14 projects in Connecticut's 4th District that U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., advocated for as part of the fiscal year 2023 omnibus appropriations agreement that Congress approved late last year. In total, the district's projects earned almost $24 million in funding from the legislation.

Norwalk Public Schools Superintendent Alexandra Estrella thanked Himes and said that the district is fortunate to have a partnership that allows students to learn directly from the aquarium's expertise and to visit it.

"This pathway will bring the opportunity to explore, engage and interact with this unique ecosystem to more students across our district," she said in a statement.

According to a statement from The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, the program will teach students about the wide range of opportunities in marine science and marine operations which will prepare them to enter the workforce and "secure good, well-paying jobs in a critical sector of the local economy."

"This funding will significantly catalyze and expand the partnership between Norwalk Public Schools and The Maritime Aquarium to build an unprecedented educational marine science pathway for students K-12, improving quality STEM education while creating job opportunities for when they graduate," The Maritime Aquarium President and CEO Jason Patlis said in statement.

The first step is a six-month curriculum development period involving teachers and aquarium staff, with a pilot expected for early 2023, according to the aquarium.

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