Research Triangle Park News
State leaders hail launch of NC STEM Learning Network
Press Release from NC STEM
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (Feb. 24, 2012) – Students across North Carolina will see a boost in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education under a new initiative launching March 1. The NC STEM Learning Network will bring together the state’s education systems and private sector to give North Carolina a vehicle to coordinate the many efforts of government, educators, and businesses to advance STEM education.
“North Carolina has amazing STEM resources that will benefit students at all levels, but we need to do a better job of coordinating and sharing these resources,” said Dr. Sam Houston, president of the N.C. Science, Mathematics and Technology (SMT) Education Center. “Through this network, we can share the best efforts throughout the state and solicit businesses, agencies, and others to help prepare students for skilled jobs in a rapidly-changing environment.”
The SMT Center will coordinate the efforts of the NC STEM Learning Network, which previously operated as NC STEM Community Collaborative, and help guide the implementation of a statewide strategic plan developed in 2011 to better coordinate STEM education initiatives with a goal of increasing student achievement, community involvement, and corporate support for STEM education. This plan was endorsed by the State Board of Education after vetting through the Joining Our Businesses & Schools (JOBS) Commission, and has the support of the state’s education systems including UNC General Administration, N.C. Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), and the N.C. Community College System.
“The key to our state’s economic future is a workforce trained in the skills today’s businesses require. The NC STEM Learning Network is a unique collaboration that will efficiently take STEM resources statewide and encourage the business community to join us in advancing STEM education for all North Carolina students,” said Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, chair of the JOBS Commission, which early last year called for developing a statewide STEM strategy.
The NC STEM Learning Network’s immediate plans to start include assisting NCDPI to develop a network of schools and districts to adopt cutting-edge STEM education programs and trainings as well as creating a web portal allowing citizens to learn about and connect with STEM education resources in their community, developing quality standards for STEM education and tools to help schools meet those standards, including professional development for teachers; and creating more public awareness of the essential role STEM education plays in the economic vitality of communities.