ASSET STEM Education
, the South Side nonprofit that has helped school districts across the state implement hands-on curricula for science, technology, engineering and math learning, is holding its first, free STEM conference downtown on Feb. 18. Its aim, says ASSET Executive Director Cynthia Pulkowski, "is really to help people identify where their school districts are on the STEM continuum and decide where they want to go to. They'll be able to discover resources and practices to improve the STEM education at their schools."
With 75 school districts and universities already signed up
-- not to mention representatives from nonprofit agencies, businesses, state government and elsewhere -- there's not much room left to register for spots, she says.
ASSET is teaming with the Norwin School District to bring the conference to the Convention Center, featuring keynote speakers David Burns, director of STEM innovation networks for the Columbus, Ohio R & D company Battelle and Dewayne Rideout, vice president of human resources for All-Clad Metalcrafters in Canonsburg.
Burns will offer a national perspective on STEM education, while Rideoout will speak about teaming with several school districts' students to work on new products for the company.
Among the 22 breakout sessions are:
- Charting Your Course to a Successful STEM School/Program, with four ASSET officials describing the best practices of a model STEM program using a national rubric;
- Several sessions focusing on STEAM, which incorporates the arts into STEM, with representatives from Propel Schools and the Pine-Richland School District;
- Next Generation Science Standards and STEM, led by representatives of the Math and Science Collaborative at Allegheny Intermediate Unit; and
- Supporting STEM Education through Common Core, focusing on new, more rigorous state standards now being required of students.
"Teachers need to identify where the possibilities lie for their students in careers," says Pulkowski. To help, ASSET is also creating a STEM career database for schools to investigate possibilities for internships, mentoring programs and classroom visitors.
Conference-goers, she says, "will walk away with pieces they can go ahead and apply in their schools. I hope they can say, 'OK, I have a place to start.' I just want them to have some actual resources and some good planning."
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Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Cynthia Pulkowski, ASSET STEM Education