Washington STEM Programs
WHY STEM? STEM is a Game-Changer For Our Students + Our State
STEM = Opportunity. STEM isn’t just for scientists and engineers. From Puget Sound to Yakima valley, Washington’s economy is rooted in STEM. It’s simple: in the 21st century, STEM opens doors for every student to succeed.
We’re facing a STEM shortage. In the past ten years, STEM jobs have grown three times faster than non-STEM jobs. Yet too few of our students see STEM’s power or possibilities.
It’s time to shift STEM into high gear. Right now, we have an unprecedented window of opportunity to reimagine STEM education. Our kids can’t wait and neither can our state. But together, we can change the game.
We are deploying three strategies to reimagine STEM education across Washington.
- STEM Lab R+D. Lifting up BREAKTHROUGH IDEAS + PROMISING PRACTICES.
Washington STEM’s nimble STEM Lab R+D team leverages select investments to catalyze greater change in education. This year, we launched STEM-PD, which aims to reimagine professional development for teachers.
- Networks. REIMAGINING STEM IN COMMUNITIES, STATEWIDE
STEM Networks are supporting communities and regions in Washington to advance STEM education in alignment with local economic development. This powerful strategy aligns diverse groups around a shared agenda for statewide collective impact. It has demonstrated success in other states including North Carolina and Ohio.
In 2011, Washington STEM launched three STEM Networks in South King County, Spokane County, and South Central Washington. Washington STEM will seed up to 10 additional STEM Networks by 2015. We will provide backbone support to this emerging statewide network so we can move forward faster for all students in Washington.
- Advocacy. Supporting bold state leadership in STEM.
Washington STEM is working with policymakers and other education advocates to bring creative solutions to the table that will remake our state’s education system, and with it, the futures of generations of young Washingtonians. Of particular importance is supporting the state’s paramount duty to basic education by supporting successful implementation of the Common Core State Standards and paving the way for adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards. These new standards are key to ensure our students are prepared for success in work and life. We are also leading the charge calling for a comprehensive and results-driven approach to improve STEM education across Washington.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Teachers Matter Most
Research shows that more than any other factor, teachers have the greatest impact on student achievement. Too often our most qualified and best-prepared teachers are not serving our most vulnerable students, perpetuating inequities that extend beyond the classroom.
Now is the time to reimagine professional development for teachers. In Washington, we spend an estimated $300 million a year on professional learning for teachers. Unfortunately, most of this money is spent on activities that do not change what happens in the classroom.
Our big idea: STEM-PD. Over the next 18 months, we will partner with our funded partners in Renton, Highline, Nooksack Valley, Anacortes, and Bellevue school districts to support teachers as they implement the new Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and the upcoming Next Generation Science Standards.
Our long-term vision is to have a technology-enabled professional development model that can be scaled statewide. Using low-cost, web-based technologies, we can transform how teachers learn. Through an online platform, they will be able to upload and share videos; receive real-time, remote coaching; and engage in self-reflection and peer review. We will develop a video library of best practices that will be accessible to teachers across the state. This will support teachers as they implement the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics, and lay the foundation for successful implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards.