For Immediate Release - August 18, 2011

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR MURRAY ANNOUNCES ENDORSEMENTS FOR STATEWIDE STEM INITIATIVES

Six selected initiatives focus on science, technology, engineering, and math for students across the Commonwealth

NGA STEM Conference
Lieutenant Governor Murray offers remarks at the National Governors Association's Center for Best Practices Learning Lab Conference and makes an announcement relative to the state's STEM (science, technology, education and math) Education, Jobs, and Workforce initiative in Boston(Photo Credit: Norm Birenbaum/Lt. Gov's Office).

BOSTON - Thursday, August 18, 2011 - As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education and workforce initiative, Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today announced the Commonwealth's support for six statewide STEM programs, including: advanced robotics, engineering and biomedical sciences, an Advanced Placement expansion initiative and a community college STEM transfer program.

"As we encourage more students to pursue careers in STEM fields, it is imperative that we create lasting partnerships that will provide students with the right tools and resources to gain an appreciation for STEM education," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "These selected STEM initiatives will build a pipeline for success between elementary and secondary education to post-secondary education and careers in Massachusetts' growing innovation economy for students in all regions of the Commonwealth."

The endorsements came during the National Governors Association's (NGA) Center for Best Practices conference in Boston, attended by officials from more than a dozen states who view Massachusetts as a national leader in STEM education. As chair of the Governor's STEM Advisory Council, Lieutenant Governor Murray has engaged STEM stakeholders from across the state to identify potential initiatives that will increase the number of students who are both prepared and interested in STEM fields.

The STEM operations board, a subcommittee of the STEM Advisory Council, reviewed applications and selected the following projects known as @Scale Endorsements: Quinsigamond Community College's (QCC) Advanced Robotics Program; Mass Insight Education's Math + Science Initiative; DIGITS Project; WPI's Project Lead the Way; MassBioEd Foundation's BioTeach; and Massasoit Community College's Science Transfer Initiative.

In March, Massachusetts was identified as a national model for STEM education initiatives, and the state partnered with NGA's Center for Best Practices as the center looks to further implement STEM education programming in schools across the country. The NGA's center convened today in Boston for a Learning Lab for Developing State Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Plan, which highlighted Massachusetts' STEM plan and the Commonwealth's efforts to strengthen STEM skills for both students and workers to help grow the state's talent pipeline and increase the state's intellectual capital and innovation capacity. Representatives from 13 other states are visiting Massachusetts to participate in this conference.

@Scale Endorsements include projects that represent a strategic focus on specific promising programs to achieve quantitative gains in student interest and readiness. These goals are defined in the STEM plan and encourage students to pursue STEM post-secondary majors and careers. This approach has been presented to and supported by representatives of the Massachusetts business community.

Details on the six @Scale Endorsements:

Quinsigamond Community College's (QCC) Advanced Robotics Program builds a pipeline for K-12 STEM education in Worcester Public Schools and Worcester County Schools to college and ultimately the local STEM workforce. With a focus on robotics and robotics competitions, this program will promote academic achievement for students and professional development for teachers through hands-on training in state-of-the-art labs, and will also reach neighboring underserved school systems, develop best practices in an urban setting and disseminate tools and findings on a broad scale. The program will target 1,250 Worcester Public School students in its first year with plans to reach out to an additional 100 students in year 2 and again in year 3.

Mass Insight Education's Mass Math + Science Initiative (MMSI) is a performance partnership demonstrating the number of Massachusetts students entering college prepared for and interested in pursuing STEM careers, particularly among underserved populations, dramatically increases when schools expand access to and encourage participation in Advanced Placement (AP) and other rigorous courses in grades 6-12. Teachers are expected, and trained, to engage a broader range of middle and high school students into college preparatory classes and students are supported with tutoring and extra time, and are rewarded for success. MMSI currently works directly with 6,700 students in 45 Massachusetts public schools across 34 school districts, with plans to expand in the coming school year. Based on available results, MMSI has more than doubled enrollments in AP math, science and English courses and has nearly doubled the number of qualifying AP exam scores earned by students.

DIGITS Project is a STEM education program that pairs STEM professionals with sixth-grade classes throughout the state to increase students' interest in math and science subjects and careers. Through the use of a uniquely designed alphabet with STEM icons embedded in each letter, a set of interactive exercises, and the volunteers' own personal career stories, students gain a clearer understanding of the important role of math and science in today's world and are introduced to the broad spectrum of exciting career opportunities available to them in STEM fields. Open to all Massachusetts schools with a sixth grade, the program is rolled out on a regional basis across the state, scheduled over the course of the academic year, and provided free to schools that "opt in" to the program. Over the first two years, more than 22,250 students in 182 schools in 90 cities and towns across the state were motivated to study math and science with the assistance of 295 volunteers from 69 companies in the information technology, engineering, life sciences and clean energy sectors.

WPI's Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nationally-acclaimed STEM curriculum for grades 6-12 which is project-based and uses real-world problem-solving as a framework. The PLTW curriculum features programs in engineering and biomedical sciences, and has proven effective at producing students who are both interested in - and prepared for - pursuing STEM careers. Offered at over 4,200 high schools and middle schools in all 50 states, including 26 schools in Massachusetts, a 2009 study found that PLTW students were significantly more likely than other career/technical students to complete at least four years of mathematics and at least three years of lab-based science courses during high school, which are critical for admission to many colleges. Worcester Polytechnic Institute was selected in 2004 as one of 39 affiliate universities for the PLTW Engineering Program.

MassBioEd Foundation's BioTeach is an ambitious program that features teacher professional development, equipment supply grants and student experiential learning. Over a six year period, BioTeach has provided professional development opportunities for over 500 educators in 177 Massachusetts high schools. The program prepares teachers to access and use biotechnology curricula, expose students to career awareness activities, and partner with government and local businesses to support scientific curiosity and increase student participation in science courses.

Massasoit Community College's Science Transfer Initiative helps to build the pipeline of STEM professionals in Massachusetts by focusing on increasing post-secondary enrollment, retention, diversity, and access in the sciences. Designed for students who are considering majors in the sciences, engineering, pre-med or other advanced medical fields, the principle goal is to engage students in STEM areas and prepare them for successful transfer to four-year institutions through a combination of intensive advising, mentoring, career awareness and early undergraduate research. Massasoit initiated the pilot program in 2006 in collaboration with Stonehill College, and since that time science transfer enrollments have tripled.

"Despite these challenging economic times, there are rewarding job opportunities that exist today, across all levels of the career ladder, for people with knowledge and skills grounded in STEM," said David Cedrone, Associate Commissioner for Workforce Development at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. "This is good news for Massachusetts, and our goal is to inform and excite students about careers in high-demand fields and to prepare them for continued success in post-secondary education and the workplace. These programs have a track-record of success in helping students achieve those goals and will expand to help many more students statewide."

"Having one of the most talented workforces in the country is a major competitive advantage for the Commonwealth. Investing in that human capital is the best way to ensure our state's long term economic vitality, and is the underlying premise of the state's STEM agenda," said Massachusetts Business Roundtable (MBR) Executive Director JD Chesloff. "MBR is pleased to work with Lieutenant Governor Murray and the Patrick administration to ensure that the state has a strong STEM Plan with clear goals and outcomes, and an implementation strategy to ensure success. The designation of the '@Scale' projects is a key step in aligning these elements. MBR congratulates the @Scale projects, as well as the many STEM stakeholders and advocates throughout the Commonwealth who are joining together to effectively move the state's STEM agenda forward."

"As a long-time advocate of STEM education, I applaud Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray for their work in implementing a statewide STEM plan," said Senator Karen Spilka, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies and a member of the Governor's STEM Advisory Council. "Expanding successful STEM programs across the Commonwealth will ensure that our students are prepared with the necessary education and skills for careers in cutting-edge industries. These programs are a valuable investment in our collective future and will help Massachusetts maintain its competitive edge as a state."

The Patrick-Murray Administration plans to participate in the state's 8th Annual Stem Summit on October 18, 2011. To learn more about the Governor's STEM Advisory Council, including the Massachusetts STEM Plan, please visit: http://www.mass.gov/governor/administration/councilscabinetsandcommissions/stem/more-about-stem/

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