2015-16 Annual Progress Report
SW Washington STEM Network
Report Produced by: Ted Feller Grant ID:
The STEM network is a transformative public-private initiative that engages partners from education, government and business. STEM is an approach to teaching and learning, as well as a strategy for economic development. In order to realize our communities’ potential, the members of the network are committed to providing all students with:
ANNUAL NETWORK HIGHLIGHTS
Earlier this year Washington STEM, in partnership with Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), announced the first round of $4 million in grants to statewide schools, school districts, educational service districts, higher education institutions, nonprofits, and community based organizations to support computer science education. ESD112 was awarded one of these competitive grants which will make it possible for professional development for teachers, obtainment of technology, and the expansion of computer science course offerings and programs throughout SW Washington. Grant recipients must have partnered with private organizations and individuals to be eligible for the grant from OSPI. Because the STEM Network has developed a partnership with the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Clark County to put on the education component of the Digital Technology Expo the ESD112 was able been able to leverage this event as part of the private match which helped ESD112 secure the $500,000 Computer Science Grant for our students in SW Washington.
This year the Camas, Evergreen, Hockinson and Vancouver School Districts partnered with Washington State University Vancouver and nConnect to develop the innovative AP Connect Program which brings together AP STEM teachers, STEM industry experts and AP students on the Washington State University Vancouver campus to support local high school students in rigorous advanced placement coursework. Utilizing four interconnected research-based strategies the AP Connect Program provided attending students the opportunity for high quality AP instruction, tutoring, mentoring and academic support from industry experts as well as college ready activities. The AP Connect Program meets one Saturday a month over the school year. During the 2015-16 Inaugural year the AP Connect program had 100% of the students surveyed believe that the AP Connect helped them with AP Coursework and the Exam. One of the main goals of the AP Connect program is to improve college access for students underrepresented in STEM degree programs. This year 48% of participating students identified themselves as non-white; 53% were females; 29% were first generation college bound students; and 24% were college bound scholars.
During the 2015-16 School Year nConnect’s Future Connect program partnered with more than 100 businesses and governmental organizations to provide a variety of College and Career Related activities to more than 2500 middle and high school students. Future Connect activities include individual experiences like informational interviews as well as group activities at schools where community professionals visited and shared career information in “speed networking”, guest speaking, and mock interviewing events.
The Network partnered with the College Success Foundation to bring 12 Career Counselors from Camas, Battle Ground, Evergreen and Vancouver school districts together to develop a plan to help low and middle income students from our region who are pursuing a high demand STEM bachelor degree get a WSOS scholarship. More than 1200 scholarships are awarded annually statewide to high school seniors and college freshman and sophomores worth up to $22,500 (over five years). This year the Champions increased the number of submitted applications in our region by nearly 200 percent which resulted in over $1.5m in scholarships for low and middle income students in our region who are planning to pursue a high demand STEM bachelor degree.
Camas School District partnered with the Network and WA STEM to host an incredibly successful event in January for 5th-8th grade female students which included a keynote speaker, interactive sessions, career expo tables, and a panel session. Thanks to our business partners and Washington STEM the day also included lunch, a “swag” bag, door prizes and most importantly exposure to a plethora of STEM professionals and careers for middle school girls in Camas. This event was a pilot project working with the Camas School District. Look forward to a region wide Girls in STEM Event coming next year!
During the 2015-16 School Year nConnect’s STEM Connect program recruited and mobilized STEM professionals placing them in local area high schools as mentors in the STEM learning community. By maintaining and supporting a vital network of industry volunteers, STEM Connect is building context and relevance in the STEM learning community as well as a student’s workplace knowledge and workplace awareness.
In April of this year the GVCC partnered with the STEM Network and Leadership Clark County to organize an "Educational Preview" that kicked off the first annual GVCC Vancouver Digital Technology Expo. Some of the best-and-brightest from the Vancouver, Evergreen, Camas and Hockinson School Districts attended the Expo in the morning to participate in this unique chance to see the vibrant digital technology industry emerging in SW Washington. Students were able to network with over 50 tech business and community organizations that support our region's vibrant digital technology industry. Because of the tech expo and the work of the GVCC the STEM Network was able to utilize the event as the private match for a $500,000 Computer Science Education Grant provided by OSPI and WA STEM. The grant will be able expand the number of K12 students who will receive Computer Science instruction in SW Washington. Additionally, the expo increased business engagement in K12 educational programs with 40% of the participating businesses expressing interest in getting more involved in supporting K12 STEM Education within our local school districts.
Instructional Worksite Learning
This year the network partnered with Camas School District and WaferTech to develop a pilot virtual internship program that utilized our business partners as well as industry approved and recognized technical skill, soft skill and work ready curriculum. The pilot program has the potential to significantly increase the number of STEM internships in the region while at the same time decreasing the number of hours a company needs to commit to an internship from 100 hours to 20 hours. Utilizing the virtual internship program the Camas School District was able to increase the number of students completing a quality worksite learning experience by 30%!
In May of 2016 WorkSource, SW WA High Tech Council as well as the Evergreen, Vancouver and Camas School District’s partnered to establish the first ever STEM Job Fair for high school students looking to begin a career in manufacturing after graduation. Students who have successfully completed a quality worksite learning experience or a similar work preparedness experience had the opportunity interview with local manufacturing companies who were looking to fill entry level positions. Students also had the opportunity to learn about effective interviewing and resume building techniques from experts as well as learn about employment services provided by WorkSource. At the time of this report the STEM Job Fair produced at least 5 direct hires and 20 follow up interviews for our graduating high school seniors!
No major challenges have been faced during this reporting period except for managing growth and involvement.
The key stakeholders and founding members of the network have just agreed to a 3 year collaborative agreement that ensures funding for the Network’s Backbone Organization. We have also just added Hockinson and Kalama School Districts as our newest member to the Network. Our Governance Board has challenged the backbone organization to increase business involvement in the network.
2016-17 Work Plan
Products, Tools, or Resources
http://www.columbian.com/news/2014/apr/18/connecting-with-speed-networking/ (older article)