Note: This is first in a series of posts by members of the Finger Lakes STEM hub Steering Committee and Board of Champions.
Working with the Finger Lakes STEM Hub committee to prepare for this exciting launch has been a real passion of mine. After teaching Biology and Chemistry for 14 years my hope was to preserve the integrity of the sciences, along with technology, engineering and math as a school district administrator. Many of my colleagues have been overwhelmed with the Regents Reform Agenda, Race to the Top (RTTT), and the many mandates facing school districts that focus primarily on English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. I shared the vision of my peers serving on this committee and taking on the challenging work of creating a local Hub. I wanted to be sure there was a formal awareness and support for school districts to maintain a strong academic program for the Sciences, Technology and Engineering while meeting the demands of educational reform in the areas of ELA and Math.
The Hub is a collaboration of people that see the benefit in teaching our students how to problem solve, use inquiry, and participate in hands-on learning through STEM, and for many through STEAM (adding an “A” for the arts). There has been recent research to support the value of a strong STEM education that can be integrated into the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS). I recently read an article that voiced a real concern for Homeland Security and Secret Service type careers-they report that we do not have students pursuing STEM fields that will ensure progressive/modern improvements in the United States’ ability to compete with our global neighbors. Our job, as the Finger Lakes Hub is to work collaboratively with UPK-12 educators, Colleges and Universities, and more importantly workforce providers to make STEM learning interesting, inspiring, and fun for all students. This is hard work, but exciting work. May the STEM of learning be with you!
Kimberle Ward is a member of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Steering Committee.