-on behalf of NC STEM
New 'STEM Communities' Kick-off Education Plan for N.C.
National, state and local leaders meet in Raleigh this week to initiate community-designed STEM innovations to better education, economy in N.C.
RALEIGH, N.C. (July 2, 2009) - The NC STEM Community Collaborative, a statewide leader in incubating collaborative STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs in North Carolina communities, today announced that more than 50 cross-sector leaders from throughout the state and nation gathered on Monday for the STEM Community Technical Assistance Kick-off hosted at the William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation on N.C. State's Centennial Campus.
The Technical Assistance Kick-off served as the initial step in an estimated six-month collaborative design process in the first three Ready-to-Launch STEM Communities - the state's BRAC Region, Davie County, Lenoir County, and surrounding areas. This work session brought together stakeholders from each community in addition to national experts from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES), and other state leaders. The Kick-off achieved its goals of initiating inter-and intra-community engagement, introducing partners to the process and to each other, and generating energy and urgency towards a successful and ground-breaking approach to helping our children succeed.
Each Ready to Launch Community has outlined a group of founding partners from different public and private sectors to invest in and coordinate a Community Visioning Process over the next six months. These founders encompass a broad range of community leaders representing local and county government, business, education, parents, teachers, and our military.
"These communities are driving their own innovation and collaboration. At this event, we heard every level of education and industry share their needs, hopes, and realities," stated Karl Rectanus, leader of NC STEM. "We have to start at the community level if we want to scale and sustain great ideas."
Each of the STEM Communities will enact their designs in three phases, with the assistance of NC STEM and its partners.
The next phase begins this summer with Community Engagement, when communities will introduce the process, conduct surveys, and hold structured open discussions throughout their community to engage and deeply understand local challenges and needs. The Education Innovation Phase follows in the fall where NC STEM connects communities with subject matter experts based on the desired needs discussed in the previous phase. In this phase, NC STEM will conduct a gap analysis and bring in the necessary resources to fit the specific needs of each community. By December, stakeholders from across the broad STEM Community landscape will finalize their Design Phase, which will map proven best practices that maximize each community's economic and education opportunity.
"We realize how important it is to reach out across the region, even to people who have never been engaged in education and economic development before," said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Dordal, executive director of Fort Bragg/ Pope Air Force Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) Regional Task Force. "We'll need to be active and dedicated to that outreach to set up an innovative design for our diverse region."
By providing a straightforward, evidence-based, and ongoing process of technical and facilitation assistance, NC STEM supports the commitment of each community to design relevant, rigorous, experiential education for all students. NC STEM is different because it is student-centered, aligns community strengths with state and national needs, and recognizes the community is the lever for sustainable innovation. NC STEM will match North Carolina's greatest existing STEM programs to a community's needs. The entire process is collaborative in nature, and as communities work together - building on each other's strengths - the state will prosper and lead its children to success with more power in numbers.
NC STEM utilizes the investments and expertise of MCNC, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and NC STEM's founding partners to ensure the success all North Carolina students while also providing their communities a workforce that aligns to richer economic opportunities. NC STEM will work with leadership and stakeholders from policy, industry, education, economic development, and other community sectors to create a cohesive education model suitable for each region's needs and informed by the state's needs.
About NC STEM Collaborative
The North Carolina STEM Community Collaborative, funded through generous support of MCNC, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and community partners, recognizes that community collaboration is the lever to ensure sustainable innovation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. It builds the capacity of local communities to create innovative and sustainable educational programs that are characterized by individualization, quality and scalability. NC STEM supports successful 21st century teaching and learning in North Carolina, and recognizes the importance of engaging students in digital-age learning, preparing students to be ready to enter the workforce. Through designed collaboration, NC STEM partners closely with "ready to launch" and "emerging" communities throughout North Carolina to ensure all students have the opportunity to engage in rigorous, sustainable STEM education that provides them with good choices in life and bolsters the economic strength of their communities.
MCNC provides advanced communications technologies and support services that enable access to 21st century learning applications that improve teaching, learning, research and collaboration among North Carolina's K-20 education community. MCNC, through its management of NCREN and its predecessor networks, has serviced the advanced networking technology needs of the University of North Carolina General Administration institutions and other higher education clients for the past 20 years. Please visit www.mcnc.org for more.
About Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), guided by the belief that "every life has equal value," has focused efforts in the United States to ensure that all people - especially those with the fewest resources - have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Since 2000, the Foundation has invested more than $4 billion in grants and scholarships to strengthen efforts that help prepare students for college and career success. In North Carolina, the Foundation has invested more than $40 million, providing assistance to low-performing schools and supporting new school development efforts, data systems and policy and advocacy initiatives. In addition to these efforts, the BMGF is providing initial funding for the NC STEM Community Collaborative.
About Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES)
The Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES) understands that our nation's youngsters are the innovative fuel for the future. TIES design teams bring STEM school design, curriculum and instructional support to schools, districts, states and the federal government to ensure that students are prepared for post-secondary options, especially those that lead to STEM fields and STEM teaching. TIES currently serves as Senior STEM Consultants to the Directors at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as they design and implement a national STEM Learning Network. In North Carolina, TIES has provided technical assistance to STEM high schools through the North Carolina New Schools Project and currently provides support and technical assistance to the NC STEM Community Collaborative.
The NC STEM Community Collaborative benefits from the support of other partners committed to the improvement of STEM education and economic opportunity. The Collaborative seeks to connect partners through active networking that will share learning, capture knowledge and drive innovation. These partners include but are not limited to the Ohio STEM Learning Network, Texas High School Project, California STEM Innovation Network, National Governors Association and other regional, state, and national organizations committed to the support and improvement of STEM education.
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