With the understanding that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education must reach beyond the walls of the classroom, the STEMEast Network has initiated and supported multiple foundational STEM programs in its 11 regional school districts. The STEMEast Network has recently adopted a unified STEM Ecosystem model to support students in accessing STEM related activities both in and out of the classroom.
As an important part of the STEMEast Ecosystem, after-school programs provide access to formative experiences for traditionally underserved populations of students. The STEMEast Network and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain have partnered with the California Academy of Science to implement Science Action Clubs. Science Action Club (SAC) is a high-impact STEM program for middle school youth in out-of-school time. The STEMEast Network is pleased to announce that a Science Action Club pilot program will be funded through a grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.
The SAC modules engage students as citizen scientists where they investigate and catalog organisms that live in and around their communities. Using hands-on games and projects, students will investigate their local environment, document discoveries, share data, and design strategies to protect our planet. These modules will not only provide a window into the work of scientists as they observe and archive data, they will also connect students to STEM related careers. The program facilitates the STEMEast Network’s goal to increase exposure to STEM experiences in afterschool and summer programs. If our pilot program demonstrates success and we move toward full participation, afterschool programs will implement two environmental science units, one in the fall and one in the spring. Each unit guidebook includes lesson plans for 12 one-hour club sessions. Each kit contains tools and supplies for 20 youth.
“The STEMEast network understands the value that after-school program providers bring to the region and strategic partnerships, especially ones like the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plains, allow us to increase access to STEM experiences for all students in the region”, stated STEMEast Network Executive Director, Bruce Middleton.
Implementation of Science Action Club will begin in early Spring of 2018 with staff training and preparation occurring during the Fall of 2017.
The STEMEast Network is one of the most recognized North Carolina education and workforce development organizations for public/private partnership development focused on STEM Education and student pathway development. STEM East began as a 2009 public/private initiative to introduce STEM education to regional students and align projected workforce needs with curriculum development. Through initial partnerships with NC STEM, Bill & Malinda Gates Foundation, Battelle Foundation, MCNC, UNC, NC East Alliance, Lenoir C100, Spirit Aerosystems, Golden LEAF Foundation and other public/private partners STEM East has advanced from a grass-roots initiative to a sustained, regional organization. Unique to the current structure of STEM East is formal partnership developed between 11 school districts and 11 of the largest ENC employers. This STEMEast Network currently represents approximately 120,000 students and over 50,000 jobs. STEM East is housed within the NC East Alliance, a regional economic development entity, providing a unique opportunity to engage employers and private sector organizations with education leaders.
The primary mission of STEMEast is to develop and align innovative K-12 STEM education programs in Eastern North Carolina (ENC) with employer interests - supporting regional STEM career pathways for students, building up a solid workforce, and adding considerable value for relocating and expanding businesses. To accomplish this mission STEM East has spent more than seven years building a network of employers, education institutions, government entities and public/private support organizations. This network of partners has designed, built, funded and sustained more than $14 million in direct STEM education support to ENC classrooms.
STEM East is developing networks with industries, organizations and educational institutions to improve student-learning pathways that will lead to employment. Through the collaboration of multiple businesses, education districts, economic development municipalities and foundations, state government departments, and many others, STEM Center students will engage in real-world learning modules that directly align with career opportunities in Eastern North Carolina. For more information visit www.stemeast.org.