STEM West Initiatives

  1. Secure and sustain STEM partnerships between education/industries/government/higher education
  2. Develop and implement problem-based curricula/scenarios for K-16 science, math, and CTE courses based on local STEM career opportunities
  3. Foster interest in and introduce students to STEM careers
  4. Provide information to the community regarding STEM career pathways
  5. Establish STEM West organizational governance and sustainability

Impact Summary

  1. Filling the Gap: STEM West is partnered with 25+ local STEM businesses, almost 100 educators have been trained in project based learning (PBL) and many of them have created and implemented the PBL units in their classrooms, engaging 3000+ students in real-world business problems/issues.
  2. Robox Sumo: This is a Train-the-Trainer one-day workshop that is funded by a Biogen grant. This workshop ahs trained over 54 adults and let to over 400 students being engaged in engineering robots through after-school clubs, science center events, and scout programs. This one day opportunity continues to impact more students across the region.
  3.  GEMS (Girls Engaged in Math and Science) Clubs: 70 coaches have been trained and over 20 clubs continue to flourish after three years. Coaches received 4 days of training and $200 to purchase club supplies.
  4. Fairs & Festivals: STEM West continues to be represented at the Historic Morganton Festival and the Taylorsville Apple Festival annually to share STEM Career information with students and parents. In partnership with the NC Bionetwork of Community Colleges, many students and adults participate in hands-on, engaging activities such as making their own DNA necklaces. Over 500 community members are engaged in discussions of STEM Careers each year.
  5. EdCamp STEM West: The first STEM related EdCamp was attended by 130+ people interested in STEM Education. Over $1500 in door prizes and food was donated by local businesses. EdCamp STEM West has become a regional event hosted every other spring.
  6. STEM West organized and hosted training for over 50 teachers across western NC. Regional elementary teachers also worked together to develop a Matrix, integrating the curriculum into the K-5 standards across all subject areas. This document is being shared across the state and NCDPI.
  7. GIZMOs Grant: STEM West collaborated with Explore Learning to access estimated $120,000 in services for western NC school districts. These districts received a one-year access to GIZMOS, an online simulation site, and 3 days of training on inquiry instruction. This resource is being used heavily across the region.
  8. Computer Science Training: STEM West collaborated with The Friday Institute to host follow-up trainings for the middle school NC Computer Science Pilot at the NC Center of Engineering Technologies.
  9. EXTREME STEM Tour Training: In partnership with Education Matters of CVCC, STEM Tours teams held 2 trainings with participants from 12 different counties. Over 50 community stakeholders learned how to implement their own tours. Additional districts have implemented the tours. These tours are now taking place in at least three districts and others have developed variations.
  10. LEGO Equity Grant: STEM West has received a LEGO Equity grant (approximately $9000 value), which has allowed 3 schools received WeDo kits, training, materials, and iPads to engage 144 girls (2nd-4th graders) in FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Jr. Expos to share their learning. With additional funding, 6 more clubs will be started in the fall in our local libraries and schools. Additionally, funding has been received to begin Discovery LEGO programs in 3 YMCA locations for PreK-1 children and Spike Prime materials for 5th and 6th graders in 2 elementary schools.
  11. Asset Map: To understand the STEM educational opportunities in the region, STEM West has developed an Asset Map . This map is continuously updated to evaluate gaps in access to quality STEM programming, as well as, links to strong programs that may be replicated.
  12. STEM Trek! This an annua NC Science Festival Event that occurs every April to connect families with local STEM businesses through engaging hands-on activities. This event is in partnership with the Catawba Science Center and Klingspor, Inc.
  13. Kramden Institute: 750 refurbished desktop computers, provided by the Kramden Institute, loaded with 100+ educational software programs were distributed to students in the region with no computer access at home.
  14. Sustainability Steps: A STEM West Business Plan and Communication Plan has been written and approved by the STEM West Advisory Board. Presently, 7 school districts are formal partners with STEM West and business partnerships are still being developed.
  15. District Science Strategic Plans Developed: Supported by the NC Science, Mathematics, & Technology (SMT) Center, 3 of the 7 school districts have received sponsorship to attend LASER training to develop these plans. Other districts are planning to attend in the future. The Goal is for every STEM West partnering district to be able to collaborate in moving forward with science inquiry instruction.

Impact: In less than 4 years, STEM West has impacted almost 7000 students and over 550 educators through teacher training, student events, clubs, etc. Students have participated in STEM units, clubs, and events focused on STEM Careers and/or skills.