- Executive Office of Education
Media Contact for BAKER-POLITO ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES INAUGURAL STEM WEEK FOR STUDENTS ACROSS THE COMMONWEALTH
Colleen Quinn, Communications Director, Executive Office of Education
Boston — In an effort to boost students’ interest and raise awareness of STEM education, the Baker-Polito Administration will declare a statewide “STEM Week” from October 22-26, 2018, and is asking educators at all grade levels to participate by planning lessons, events, and activities focused on science, technology, engineering and math throughout the week.
Students from pre-kindergarten through high school and postsecondary institutions will be encouraged to take part in hands-on learning that aligns topics across STEM subjects and connects to other curricula. While STEM Week will be directed toward all students, there will be a particular emphasis on middle and high school students, who are on the verge of thinking about college and careers. High school and middle school students could also take part in internships or informational tours at local companies.
“While we know that STEM education happens all year long at schools across the Commonwealth, we look forward to the hands-on projects and lessons that will be on display during STEM week next fall,” said Governor Baker. “Creating opportunities for more students to pursue STEM fields after high school will continue to improve our education system, workforce and economy.”
Strengthening STEM education in all of the Commonwealth’s K-12 schools is a priority of the Baker-Polito Administration. Lt. Governor Karyn Polito co-chairs the STEM Advisory Council, along with U.S. Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III, and Jeffrey Leiden, chief executive officer of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The STEM Advisory Council is appointed by the Governor and includes education and business leaders in STEM industries that work to promote STEM education, partnerships among industries and schools, and internships for students.
“It is critical that our K-12 schools provide all students with high-quality, relevant STEM courses,” Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said. “STEM Week will be a wonderful opportunity to showcase efforts already underway in STEM education and highlight opportunities that will inspire more and more students to get involved in these important fields.”
"Massachusetts STEM Week will highlight the innovation taking place at our Commonwealth's schools as well as celebrate the achievements of the Commonwealth’s teachers, students and community leaders. Working with Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Polito and the entire STEM council, I look forward to continuing to strengthen our STEM pipeline in the days, weeks and years ahead," said U. S. Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III, who co-chairs the STEM Advisory Council with Lt. Governor Polito.
“By holding STEM Week, we hope to increase awareness and interest in STEM careers among students and parents, as well as continue the work of developing integrated STEM pathways from secondary school to college that includes relevant career guidance and exploration, workplace experiences and applied learning across all STEM subjects,” Education Secretary James Peyser said.
STEM Week is a collaborative effort with the STEM Advisory Council, which is working to generate interest from the business community for STEM Week activities around the Commonwealth, and foster partnerships with school districts. The state’s Regional STEM Networks are planning and coordinating activities for STEM Week in conjunction with the STEM Advisory Council. Regional STEM networks connect educators, community leaders, and industry partners in order to foster opportunities for students in STEM fields.
“Massachusetts is the home of dynamic, global leaders in industries such as life sciences, robotics, and advanced manufacturing. These companies grow and add jobs here because of our STEM-oriented ecosystem. STEM Week is an important way to encourage students to get engaged in our Innovation Economy at an early age,” Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash said.
“STEM jobs are some of the most high-demand employment categories in the Commonwealth. By promoting learning in STEM we are helping to prepare our youth to access resilient career pathways in a sector which is critical to the strength of the Massachusetts economy,” Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta said.
“Like most of my friends who are scientists, I got hooked on science early by an amazing 5th grade teacher. Developing the next generation of leaders in STEM is all about capturing the imagination of kids early and showing them how much fun hands-on science can be,” said Dr. Jeffrey Leiden, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vertex and co-chair of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. “STEM Week will help bring those types of transformative experiences for hands-on learning to many more students across the state, and we at Vertex are thrilled to be a part of that effort.”
During the next 10 years, U.S. industries will demand one million more graduates with STEM backgrounds than the nation’s educational system will generate, according to the 2012 report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. This need for STEM graduates particularly impacts Massachusetts because more than 40 percent of all employment in the Commonwealth revolves around innovation industries such as clean energy, information technology, defense, and advanced manufacturing, according to the Massachusetts’ Plan for Excellence in STEM Education.
There are many ways for educators to participate in STEM Week. For example, schools and districts can:
- Engage pre-kindergarten students in age-appropriate week-long STEM experiences, including exploring nature, animal life, and plants
- Implement a week-long, immersive STEM experience for middle schoolers, in partnership with i2 Learning (https://i2learning.org/)
- Showcase high-impact, project-based STEM curriculum, like Project Lead the Way (https://www.pltw.org/)
- Sponsor coding activities to promote participation in Hour of Code (https://hourofcode.com/us)
- Arrange a field trip to a research lab or factory floor, or invite employers in to talk with high schoolers about internship opportunities through MA STEM@Work, part of Connecting Activities (http://www.massconnecting.org/)
- Bring in local college students to talk about their experiences participating in a STEM Starter Academy
- Organize a webinar to inform girls about Mass TLC’s annual Technovation competition (http://masstlcef.org/technovation/)
- Invite manufacturing/engineering students from a local vocational-technical program to put on a robotics demonstration.
- Highlight potential college courses and majors to prospective community college students through STEM Starter Academies. The STEM Starter Academy is an initiative of the Massachusetts community colleges to engage, recruit and graduate significantly more students in STEM programs that lead to careers.
During STEM Week, members of the Baker-Polito Administration and the STEM Advisory Council will visit classrooms and other school-related STEM activities, such as internships, in an effort to showcase successful programs and raise awareness about what is happening in STEM education around the Commonwealth.
Several organizations have already signed up to be STEM Week partners, including:
Alliance for Vocational Technical Education (AVTE)
Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA)
BATEC - a national center for computing and information technologies headquartered at UMass Boston
Brockton Area Branch of the NAACP
Computer Science Teachers Association - Western MA
Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) - Greater Boston
Council of State University Presidents
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Department of Higher Education
Department of Early Education and Care
MA Afterschool Partnership
MA Association of School Committees (MASC)
MA Association of School Superintendents (M.A.S.S.)
MA Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA)
MA BioEd Foundation
MA Business Alliance for Education (MBAE)
MA Business Roundtable
MA Charter Public School Association
MA Clean Energy Center
MA Community Colleges Executive Offices
MA Competitive Partnership
MA High Tech Council
MA Life Sciences Center
Massachusetts National Guard
MA School Administrators Association
MA State Science Engineering Fair
MA Tech Collaborative
MA Technology Leadership Council
Massachusetts Science Education Leadership Association (MSELA)
Mass STEM Hub
Museum of Science
Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy
Science Teachers Assoc. (MAST)
Stand for Children
UMass Donahue Institute
University of Massachusetts
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)
Educators are encouraged to get more information about STEM Week at: (http://www.mass.edu/stem/getinvolved/pipelinenetworks.asp).