The First-ever DCPS STEM Stakeholders Summit
From Camsie McAdams
Energy was high and tweets were multiplying on the morning of Monday March 5th, as nearly 150 representatives from local and national industries, non-profit organizations, government agencies, colleges and universities, and professional societies all gathered with one focus: supporting STEM education in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS).
The first-ever DCPS STEM Stakeholders Summit was jointly hosted by DCPS, Battelle, Innovate+Educate, and the Carnegie Institute of Washington. The day began with an overview of the district’s STEM Vision, which outlines broad goals in STEM for students, educators, the DCPS system, and the community. Participants gathered first in content-area groups and then in sector-based groups to discuss how they and their organizations could contribute and better coordinate efforts to achieve elements of the vision. In the academia sector meeting, Richard Larson, Principal Investigator for the MIT BLOSSOMS initiative, shared how this blended learning and open-source resource can both spark student interest in STEM and increase teacher content knowledge and confidence in teaching STEM fields. MIT BLOSSOMS partnered with DCPS to provide science and math professional development during the 2011-2012 school year.
An encouraging trend in conversations throughout the day was the host of activities and resources that already exist and are daily impacting students’ lives in the area. At the same time, participants sharing out-group insights repeatedly identified the need to compile and better communicate the inventory of offerings. This and other articulated action items will be organized by a DCPS STEM Advisory Board that will meet quarterly to align efforts, identify best practices, and monitor progress toward meeting collective goals.
As one tweet from the day summarized, “Partnerships built at the DC STEM Summit today will not only set the course for improving STEM education in DCPS, but in public schools nationally.”
Camsie McAdams is Director of STEM for the D.C. Public Schools, Washington D.C.
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