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5 Simple Steps for Supporting STEM Schools

Last week, STEMconnector and the Next Steps Institute hosted another TownHall Conference Call on what the nation can do to ensure the organic growth of STEM and “Promising Practices for Industry Engagement in STEM Schools.” The conference call featured speakers from the 3M Foundation, the DuPont Corporation, the Verizon Foundation, and the Fluor Foundation – the latter of which is the focus of this post, as Torrence Robinson, Senior Director of Community Affairs, made a compelling case for how corporations can effectively support STEM Schools.
 
The reason why we need STEM schools
 
Robinson took charge of the screen, and explained that in order for corporations to truly invest and effectively support a STEM School, they must follow five simple steps:
1.Companies must align their interests and actions with the school’s. If you engage a school with STEM enrichment activities that support their students outside of the classroom, you will amplify their learning experience, and they will then become personally invested in your company. Such engagement will also benefit both the school and the company in the long run.
2.Companies should work together to promote STEM education. Robinson called this step “collective action,” and what he meant by that is that companies need to raise awareness of how a good STEM education can change students’ lives. He used the National Engineers Week as an example of this type of collaboration, and said that more recognition like this needs to happen to get kids excited for STEM.
3.Companies must demand high quality Career Technology Education (CTE) programs. Schools need better resources to help their students and teachers, so companies should step in and help by offering peer tutoring/mentoring. Robinson also suggests that companies should help further by assisting in curriculum development so that lessons will reflect real-world problems and applications that exist in specific career fields.
4.Companies need to encourage employee engagement. Companies and organization should mine their employee resources to get exciting speakers to volunteer presenting in the classroom. A speaker who effectively engages a student and shows them how amazing a career and STEM can be can inspire them to do well in school and pursue a STEM degree.
5.And finally, companies must invest, monitor, and measure. They must invest in education with the measures highlighted above, monitor what they are doing, and then measure the success they have had in a school. This evaluation/reevaluation stage will help companies see what works and what doesn’t work, and then they can move forward from there.
 
NMSI is always looking for new ideas and strategies on how to promote STEM education and engage students in meaningful classroom experiences. We gain a great deal of insight on best practices from our first-hand experiences in implementing effective programs, educators, and others in the education industry, and we think it’s fantastic that STEM companies are now chiming in on how we can further support this endeavor.
 
Google Author: Timothy Huneycutt