The University of Minnesota’s Center for Early Education and Development is holding a free early mathematics conference for childcare providers and classroom teachers Thursday, November 17. The conference keynote is by UCLA Professor Meghan Franke, on developing children’s partial understanding. Her presentation will be followed by workshops exploring the role of counting collections, mth in children’s books, working with families to strengthen math skills, and the role that math plays in developing a child’s executive functioning. More can be found on CEED’s website.
The agenda for the October 6-7 forum, sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association, focused on building STEM pathways from pre-K through college, has been released. The forum aims to bring together perspectives from the private and public sector on Minnesota’s changing demographics and workforce development. Participants will have the opportunity to collaborate on envisioning pathways for Minnesotans, connecting education and industry, and developing a statewide perspective on these challenges.
The opening keynote on October 6 will be provided by Dr. John Olson, , Vice President & General Manager, Polaris Defense and a Director of AirSpace Minnesota. The luncheon keynote will be Dale Klapmeier, Co-Founder & CEO, Cirrus Aircraft. Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith has been invited to provide the breakfast keynote on the second day of the conference. A full conference agenda and registration information can be found at AirSpaceMN website. Early bird registration ends September 30.
The 7th annual STEM Day at the Fair includes over 30 different engaging exhibits as well as a full roster of performers for the Carousel Park stage. STEM Day opens the State Fair Thursday, August 25. The schedule of performances is:
9:00 U of MN Raptor Center
10:00 Physics Force
11:00 Flying Gizmo Show
12:00 U of MN Raptor Center
1:00 Best of MN Science Museum
2:00 Physics Force
3:00 Flying Gizmo Show
4:00 Best of MN Science Museum
The STEM Day exhibit space includes robots, rockets, the cockpit of an F-4 fighter, math and engineering challenges, architecture and public works activities, computer coding and more. We are grateful to our sponsors for making STEM Day possible again this year.
The 7th annual STEM Day at the Minnesota State Fair promises to be bigger and yes, better, than ever. Fair guests can get an up-close look in intriguing, interactive adventures brought to the fair by 35 organizations in the Minnesota STEM Network, an initiative of SciMathMN. Attendees can design features for a State Fair building and a zoo exhibit; build a battery with coins; make a food web; step inside the Bell Museum’s ExploraDome to see the night sky; test principles of aerodynamics with paper airplanes and clay model cars; learn about the role of polymers in diapers and movies; experiment with water pressure; maneuver robots to tackle challenges; test your engineering abilities by building a bridge; learn about biosecurity, rocketry, aquatics robotics and computer coding; and more! On the Carousel Park Stage, engaging presentations feature the University of Minnesota Raptor Center, Physics Force, the Flying Gizmo Show, and the Best of the Science Museum of Minnesota.
We are grateful for the many sponsors who are making this event possible. They include 3M, Boston Scientific, MTS, OrbitalATK, MN 360, MnDOT, and HB Fuller.
STEM educators fear spending bill undermines goal of new U.S. law
A federal grant has helped 500 teachers in Tampa, Florida, discover new ways to teach science at every grade level. The knowledge they’ve gained over the past 3 years has translated into 24 new lessons and a curriculum that includes hands-on strategies such as engineering design challenges.
But the fate of that and dozens of other federally funded programs to improve STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education in U.S. elementary and secondary schools is up in the air following the first move by Congress to fund a new education law that reshuffles money allocated for STEM activities. A 2017 spending bill approved earlier this month by the Senate appropriations committee falls well short of what STEM educators had expected, setting off a potentially zero-sum game between science and other parts of the curriculum.
ESSA is the most recent version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and will be replacing the No Child Left Behind Act. NCLB has been in place since 2002. NCLB brought us:
- Required state standards in the areas of mathematics, reading and science
- Required state to create English Language Development (ELD) standards for English learners
- Mandated state testing annually for all public school students in the areas of reading and mathematics in grades 3-8 and once in high school. Minnesota responded by creating the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment Reading and Mathematics tests.
- Required state testing annually for all public schools in the area of science once in each of the following groups of grades: 3-5, 6-9 and 10-12. MN responded by creating the MCA Science tests at grades 5, 8 and high school.
- Requirements that schools must improve the percent of students testing as proficient over time, culminating in 100% of students proficient by 2014;
- The groups of students that must show adequate yearly progress (AYP) included all students as a group, 5 ethnic groups, Sepecial education students, Linited English Profeciency students, and free and reduced price lunch students
- A requirement that 95%+ of the eligible students participate in the annual testing
- Sanctions for schools that failed to meet their proficiency targets
- Highly qualified teacher requirements
As the NCLB requirements phase out and the ESSA requirements are phased in, some of the NCLB requirements are carried forward. In some areas, the requirements have been modified, and in other areas, states are given some flexibility in determining how to implement the ESSA requirements.
- States must still have standards in the areas of mathematics, reading and science
- The academic standards must now be aligned with entrance requirements for credit-bearing coursework in higher education
- The academic standards must now be aligned with relevant state career and technical education standards
- The US Secretary of Education is prohibited from requiring specific academic standards, such as the Common Core State Standards
- States must still have English Language Development (ELD) standards for English learners
- The annual testing requirements for mathematics, reading and science remain the same as under NCLB
- The 95% participation requirement in testing remains in place
- However, the AYP measurement system and related sanctions are now eliminated
- ESSA now requires that states/school districts inform parents of their right to “opt out” (opt their children out of state testing)
- If certain technical requirements are met, ESSA allows school districts the option of using locally adopted assessments instead of the state assessments; At the high school level, a nationally recognized college entrance exam could be used instead of the state test.
- 7 states will be awarded grants to develop Innovative State Assessments
As the MN Department of Education prepares for the implementation of ESSA, they have shared the following timeline:
General MN ESSA Planning Timeline for 2016
|Jan 27||Meeting with legislators|
|Feb 9||First large stakeholder informational meeting|
|April-May||Topic area meetings with stakeholder groups to dive deeper into the requirements of ESSA|
|May-June||USDE is expected to release draft regulations|
|June-July||Topic area workgroups may begin to meet|
|Aug-Oct||Regional meetings to lay out ESSA requirements and framework|
|Oct||USDE is expected to release final new regulations|
|Nov-Dec||Re-convene stakeholders for final workgroup discussion on ESSA|
|Early 2017||Be prepared to submit ESSA state plan. Timelines for submission are unknown at this time.|
As the MN Department of Education does the planning for implementation of ESSA in the 2017/2018 school year, it is holding stakeholder meetings to involve stakeholders from all levels. SciMathMN has distributed the schedule of stakeholder meetings to Board members and we are encouraged to participate.
Monday, April 24 Representative John Kline (MN-2), Chair of the Committee on Education and Workforce, along with Ranking Member Robert “Bobby” Scott sent a joint letter to Chair of the House Appropriations committee and ranking members urging that the Appropriations committee fully fund the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants at their authorized level. Representative’s Kline and Scott point out that the funding of the Every Student Succeeds Act this year sets a precedent for future funding and implementation of the new federal education law. A copy of the Kline and Scott letter can be found here: Kline-Scott Letter.
Annual STEM Day at the Fair August 25, 2016
The 7th annual STEM Day at the Minnesota State Fair will again be on opening day of the Fair this year,. On Thursday, August 25, 2016 STEM education providers will take over Carousel Park and engage thousands of children, parents, and grandparents with hands-on activities. Want to participate? The exhibitors application can be found here. Applications are due by May 16.
Powering STEM Learning with Computational Thinking conference a standing room only success
Keynote speaker Sarah Reeves-Young, STEM Liaison for the Utah State Office of Education and STEM Action Center, set an exciting tone for the 7th annual Minnesota STEM Network conference April 5th. Young shared her perspective on computer science for all based on her background as K12 Science Specialist with the Utah State Office of Education.
Ms. Young shared her experience leading Utah’s Computer Science For All initiative, which has included state partnerships with Code.org and Utah industries to train and retain teachers to teach computer science. She emphasized an equity focused approach to computer science assuring that when we say “computer science for all” we mean all and plan it into efforts from the beginning. You can see Young’s presentation slides here.
Learn more about the conference on the MN STEM Network website.
TPT’s SciGirls to offer targeted professional development for high school counselors and STEM teachers
Twin Cities PBS (TPT), producer of the acclaimed PBS Kids STEM program,SciGirls, is looking for high school teachers and guidance counselors who teach and advise girls in CTE/STEM courses to be part of an innovative effort to change how girls think about their future!
After a successful pilot year, we are currently recruiting schools for year two of SciGirls Strategies: Gender Equitable Teaching Practices in CTE Pathways for High School Girls. With funding from the NSF, SciGirls Strategies is a professional development and research initiative to recruit and retain more girls in CTE/STEM pathways, especially computing, engineering and manufacturing.
SciGirls will offer a six-session (18-hour) course in 2016 and 2017 hosted evenings or weekends at TPT in Lowertown, St. Paul. Faculty take the training in the fall, utilize the strategies and in-person and video-based role model resources provided by TPT, complete a pre-post-course evaluation and welcome one classroom observation in the spring. Their female students will participate in a pre-post survey and one year follow up. Teachers will receive a $600 fee, reimbursement for travel to the training and continuing education credit.
SciGirls plans to enroll participants during April-May 2016, so if you’re interested in participating or have questions about this project, please contact Leah Defenbaugh (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible. Don’t miss this opportunity to make a difference in how girls envision their possibilities in CTE/STEM education and career pathways!
Shaping Minnesota’s Guide to Quality STEM Learning in Afterschool
Ignite Afterschool, Minnesota’s Afterschool Network, is convening STEM and afterschool stakeholders in regional meetings across Minnesota to shape a draft guide to effective practices for STEM learning in afterschool. Join your regional STEM and afterschool peers to participate in defining a common understanding of quality STEM learning in afterschool, which will connect and benefit both fields.
These meetings are ideal for both STEM and afterschool stakeholders, including educators, youth workers, program coordinators, funders, and systems-level leaders in both the STEM and afterschool fields. The meetings will be held at the following locations and dates:
Rochester (Southeast MN): March 4th, 1:00 – 3:00pm at Northrop Community Education.
REGISTER AT: https://stem-afterschool-mn-se.eventbrite.com
For more information on advancing quality STEM learning in afterschool visit www.igniteafterschool.org.
Mouse IT Curriculum, Professional Development Available for 200 MN High Schools
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has announced that Mouse technology curriculum, professional development and web-based learning platform is available for 200 high schools throughout Minnesota. Mouse will provide an innovative and engaging opportunity for high school students to graduate with certification of the skills and competencies that continue to fuel future technology jobs and innovation throughout the state. Link to more information.
STEP-UP Achieve Recruiting More Employers of STEM Interns
STEP-UP Achieve, a program of AchieveMpls, is seeking more STEM businesses and industries in the Twin Cities metropolitan area who would host a high school intern in summer 2016. STEP-UP Achieve recruits talented and highly-motivated youth and trains them with requisite skills that enable them to positively contribute to their organizations. STEP-UP interns bring energy and creativity to their workplaces.
Employers provide internships for middle or high school interns for 6-10 weeks at 15-40 hours per week. STEP-UP Achieve makes initial matches, and sends qualified candidates for employers to interview before hiring.
Ninety-six per cent of supervisors say the program was a success at their company and that their interns made a valuable contribution to their workplace. Consider the impact that an internship will have on a young person and contact Matthew Vue or 612-455-1568.