Initiatives boosting students’ skills and knowledge in STEM are deeply integrated throughout the state’s existing education reform plans and don’t exist as a stand-alone effort. Specifically, the Colorado Academic Standards were designed to ensure that all students master a rigorous course of study in math and science that ensures their P-12 experience prepares them for successful entry into the increasingly technical and technology-driven worlds of work and 6 postsecondary education.
In addition, each academic content standard includes specific “21st century skills” (defined as critical thinking and reasoning, information literacy, collaboration, self-direction, and invention) essential to the ability to effectively enter advanced study. Also, Colorado’s newly adopted Teacher Quality Standards explicitly require the effective use of technology in classrooms.
Colorado proposes to build upon this strong foundation by ensuring that implementation of key education reform efforts continues to embed STEM across all content areas and supporting all teachers in integrating STEM into their instruction.
Colorado proposes investing over $1 million over four years in STEM activities across its Phase 3 projects by:
- Hiring and supporting a STEM coordinator to work with the eight Content Collaboratives to ensure that STEM themes, lessons, and content are integrated into the Collaboratives’ new tools; and
- Connecting educators to STEM resources outside their school and LEA boundaries through activities that bring STEM content alive for educators and their students through a STEM in Action grant program.
STEM in Action
The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) recently awarded four STEM in Action grants funded through Colorado’s Race to the Top Phase 3 work. The STEM in Action grant program is intended to provide opportunities for students and teachers to experience Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in Action by connecting educators and students to the everyday work of scientists, engineers, high-tech workers, and researchers in Colorado’s labs, universities, museums, and companies. Funding can be used to build the capacity of teachers to meaningfully connect STEM learning inside and outside of the classroom with the intent of creating partnerships between K-12 education, industry, and the community, including higher education. The goal of the grant program is to provide resources to inspire and prepare students historically underrepresented in STEM careers and/or students in rural areas.
The four awardees are:
- Boulder Valley School District Re-2 (Mountain Schools)
- Centennial BOCES
- Lake County School District
- Mountain Valley School District
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