North Carolina School Superintendents, education staff and the STEMEast Network joined the Smithsonian Science Education Center for the North Carolina Leadership Workshop in New Bern, North Carolina. The two-day workshop focused on Planning for and Evaluating Successful STEM Programs.
Participants included educators from; Greene, Pitt, Lenoir, Pamlico, Carteret, Craven, Onslow, Jones, Duplin, Beaufort, Wayne, Vance and Northampton. During the two-day workshop the participants heard various speakers from the Smithsonian Science Education Center and the Friday Institute discuss the past, the present and the future of STEM Education in eastern North Carolina. These discussions gave the attendees a framework with which they could discuss their strategic plans objectively; reviewing both the successes and shortcomings.
The workshop set out to implement strategic cooperation between the counties in the region to better implement their STEM Programs. Between presentations, the school districts were provided planning time to discuss their strategic plan. Each county highlighted their success and reviewed difficulties they have faced implementing and sustaining their district’s STEM Program. The environment created an opportunity for the other counties to compare situations and draw ideas from other counties that they can implement on their own.
The workshop concluded with each district reinforcing its plans and goals for the STEM program both locally and regionally. Many districts reported successes throughout the workshop. Some notable goals, plans and implementations that were made by some of these counties are as follow:
Greene County is focusing on maintaining a high level of teacher preparedness for the training of the science kits. They are also continuing teacher training for these programs and concentrating on teacher sustainability.
Lenoir County expanded STEM summer learning experiences, had all their schools participate in Science Olympiad competitions, expanded TSA, hosted science nights, and established a few STEM labs.
Pitt County’s K-8 curriculum for science is ready to go as they want to implement inquiry-based hands on learning for all students.
Wayne County reported that county and regional partnerships have emerged and have been extremely supportive of their STEM program and its projected growth.
Districts will come together again in the Spring of 2018 to focus on strategies that monitor and evaluate their STEM implementation plans as they move forward to better serve their communities.
STEM East has played an important role in each district’s planning as the convener and connector of regional STEM resources. This included regional employers as well as universities and community colleges, science centers and afterschool program. They have also provided a tool for scheduling virtual connections between classrooms and these STEM professionals across the region and across the country. STEM East Connect allows teachers and students to visit STEM professionals to ask questions, participate in virtual tours, and to see how what they are learning in their classrooms can lead to college and careers.
About STEM East
STEM East, a component of the NCEast Alliance (a regional economic development agency serving 28 counties in eastern North Carolina), has developed partnerships with manufacturers, hospitals and other organizations as well as educational institutions across 11 counties to improve student-learning pathways that will lead to valuable employment. Through the collaboration of multiple businesses, education districts, economic development organizations, chambers, foundations, state and local governments, utilities, and many others, students are enabled to engage in real-world learning modules that directly align with STEM career opportunities in Eastern North Carolina. For more information, visit www.stemeast.org.
About NCEast Alliance
The NCEast Alliance is a regional, public/private, not-for-profit, economic development corporation serving 28 counties with approximately 1.3 million residents within several small metropolitan and micropolitan areas in eastern North Carolina from the fringe of the Research Triangle to the Atlantic Coast. The Alliance provides advocacy, community capacity building, marketing/lead generation, and assists companies with site location and expansion evaluations. For more information on the NCEast Alliance, visit us at www.nceast.org or visit one of our workforce development sites (www.ncworkready.org or www.stemeast.org).