Manatee school will be only one of its kind in Florida. They can thank Apple’s co-founder

Steve Wozniak encourages Palm View students to dream, build

Palm View students will begin a program called Woz Pathways, a series of courses in science, technology, mathematics and science, commonly known as STEM.
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Palm View students will begin a program called Woz Pathways, a series of courses in science, technology, mathematics and science, commonly known as STEM.

With enough hard work, creativity and luck, students in Manatee County have the potential to innovate and change the world, much like Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple and its famous computers. The tech celebrity shared his vision for local students in a video released on Wednesday afternoon.

He congratulated the school district and one of its Title I campuses for adopting Woz Pathways, a series of classes in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics, commonly known as STEAM.

Other school districts use portions of the course, but Manatee was the first to adopt five areas of study, or “pathways,” at one time.

“I would love to personally welcome Palm View Elementary School, the first Woz Pathways school in Florida, to the family,” he said. “Everyone at Woz is looking forward to seeing what your learners design and build this year.”

The school plans to launch its new program in August, when Palm View also starts its transition from an elementary campus to a K-8 school. Its five pathways center on engineering design, coding, drones, cybersecurity and mobile development.

Three other courses — data science, animation and artificial intelligence — are planned for the future.

Superintendent Cynthia Saunders shared Wozniak’s video during a luncheon at the Bradenton Country Club on Wednesday afternoon, hosted by the Manatee Chamber of Commerce.

“I hope they are as lucky as I am,” Wozniak said in the video. “The world needs innovators — great ones. If your learners love what they do and are willing to do what it takes, it’s within their reach.”

The Woz U Foundation contributed $225,000 to the project, and Manatee was responsible for the remaining $49,500, according to a letter between the organizations.

While most schools adopt one course each year, Manatee is adopting a majority of Wozniak’s program at the start. Along with startup money, the foundation pledged to support Palm View with two community events, garnering interest in the new program.

“At these events, parents and their children would have a chance to engage in hands-on activities with robots, drones, 3-D printers and other STEAM tools and resources so they have firsthand experience with how engaging and educational the pathways truly are,” the letter states.

Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs, left the company in 1985, shifting his focus to the nation’s classrooms and starting Woz U Education. In his video to Palm View students, Woziank encouraged Manatee’s youth to enjoy the new experience, and to consider science, technology, engineering, art or mathematics as a career.

“It will be worth every minute they spend alone at night, thinking and thinking about what it is they want to design or build,” he said.

Woz Pathways, a program started by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, is coming to Palm View Elementary School. Superintendent Cynthia Saunders made the announcement at Thursday's family night.

Giuseppe Sabella, education reporter for the Bradenton Herald, holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida. He spent time at the Independent Florida Alligator, the Gainesville Sun and the Florida Times-Union. His coverage of education in Manatee County earned him a first place prize in the Florida Society of News Editors’ 2019 Journalism Contest. Giuseppe also spent one year in Charleston, W.Va., earning a first-place award for investigative reporting.