California STEM Initiatives
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and encompasses all of the subjects that fall beneath those umbrella categories. Although STEM education affects all aspects of society, the last two decades have seen an overall decline of student interest in STEM subjects in the United States. Each state has responded to this trend in their own way, and in California, many initiatives are in place to improve the quality of STEM education and further engage students. The Noyce Foundation The Noyce Foundation seeks to improve the quality of math and science education in California public schools. Its informal science initiative helps support out-of-school programs to educate young people and pique their interests in STEM subjects, and the foundation's work in professional development ensures that teachers and school administrators have the knowledge, resources and technology to be outstanding STEM educators. Additionally, the Noyce Leadership Institute annually offers fellowships to 18 executives who work in STEM industries to help them further develop and expand their companies. The Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative The Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative works closely with the Noyce Foundation, member school districts and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Through leadership development, curriculum reform, performance assessments and high standards of accountability, the Silicon Valley Mathematics Institution is focused on ensuring that California public school teachers are thoroughly prepared to offer students comprehensive and engaging mathematics instruction. California STEM Learning Network The California STEM Learning Network was founded in response to the decline in STEM proficiency among California students. The goal is that all California students will have the opportunity not only to be proficient in STEM subjects, but to be successful in postsecondary educations and careers in STEM. The initiative aims to build a strong network of educators, executives and entrepreneurs to address the challenges facing STEM education and to brainstorm solutions as a team. They work to increase the quality of STEM education across the board and to initiate out-of-school activities that will stimulate students’ interests in STEM subjects. The JumpStarting STEM Initiative The California AfterSchool Network (CAN) began this initiative to integrate high-quality STEM activities and education into after school programs, so that STEM education can continue beyond the classroom. The JumpStarting STEM Initiative is a result of collaboration with the California Department of Education, the Noyce Foundation, and others to stimulate excitement and curiosity among students, and to ensure that time outside of school is spent productively. The Initiative provides opportunities for students to receive between 30-60 hours of additional STEM engagement per week. California STEM Service-Learning Initiative The California STEM Service-Learning Initiative works with secondary and higher education students to educate them in STEM subjects while they are serving their community. Together with STEM industry advisors, teachers and faculty, these students utilize the "service-learning instructional method" to apply what they are learning to STEM-related service projects. These projects address community needs while simultaneously engaging students and placing them on track to pursue careers in STEM industries. --- For more information on STEM initiatives in California, visit the state Department of Education's website. Brought to you by Teach.com and MAT@USC.