BALTIMORE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Noting that Maryland students continue to rank in the middle of the pack internationally – despite high student performance rankings nationally and substantial gains on standardized tests – the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education (MBRT) announced today that it will significantly expand its groundbreaking STEMnet campaign.
Introduced last year in response to Governor Martin O’Malley’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Task Force Report, STEMnet – Maryland’s STEM Innovation Network – was conceived as a means to revolutionize the way Maryland’s vast resources and opportunities in STEM are amassed, organized, and made accessible to all Marylanders.
Based on input from teachers, the first priority was to provide critical at-elbow assistance to teachers and students. The STEMnet Teacher Hub was designed as a one-stop, online shop where STEM teachers statewide could find the resources, support, and professional connections needed to strengthen STEM teaching and learning. Students could go to the online STEMnet Student Hub to explore STEM careers and solve real-world STEM challenges.
Speaking to the more than 200 business executives, government officials, and educators from across the state attending MBRT’s Annual Meeting, held today in Baltimore, MBRT Executive Director June Streckfus announced that STEMnet would:
- expand its reach more than ten-fold to 50,000 teachers, students, and STEM professionals in 2013;
- broaden its subject focus to include biology, algebra, chemistry, and physics;
- establish an online STEM community that allows teachers to connect and share with other STEM teachers and professionals;
- introduce an online inventory of workplace exposure opportunities that will provide students with career awareness and work experience in a variety of fields;
- launch a Parent Hub that provides parents with information and resources to support their efforts to boost their children’s academic performance and life opportunities; and
- explore mobile web strategies, social networks, and online simulations in order to maintain and expand the level of engagement among teachers, students and parents.
“MBRT has continued to play a key role in this year of transition for education in Maryland, moving to more rigorous standards, a greater focus on STEM, higher accountability for educators, and a robust system of data implementation,” Streckfus explained. “But if we are to truly bolster student interest and learning, and support STEM teachers in their efforts to move Maryland to world-class status in STEM education, we must accelerate – and effectively communicate – our plans to help make math and science instruction come to life for students.”
While STEMnet remains at the heart of its efforts to strengthen STEM education in Maryland, MBRT also announced that it is working with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and local school superintendents to expand its Maryland Scholars course of study to include a new designation, the Maryland STEM Scholar.
Maryland Scholars originally was created by MBRT to increase the number of students who complete rigorous high school coursework, making them STEM-capable and well prepared to succeed in college and the workplace. MBRT raised the bar on Maryland Scholars criteria earlier this year by adding a fourth math credit and raising the GPA requirement from 2.5 to 3.0 to more closely align with University of Maryland admission requirements.
MBRT also plans to establish a more self-sustaining model for schools and businesses using the organization’s award-winning Achievement Counts Speakers Bureau. Established in 1999, the Speakers Bureau is comprised of more than 3,000 volunteers from varying backgrounds and professions who have talked with more than 700,000 eighth and ninth graders statewide about the importance of completing rigorous coursework and the vital connection between achievement in school and success in the workplace and in life.
Using stronger analytics to capture outcomes and trends with Speakers Bureau volunteers, schools, students, and business partners, MBRT intends to expand employee engagement in the program and to raise college and career expectations and readiness among all students.
Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski also delivered a national perspective on education reform, while Maryland’s new State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Lillian Lowery, discussed the state’s ongoing partnership with MBRT to support educational excellence, efficiency, and equity.
In addition, MBRT’s Annual Meeting recognized James Pitts, outgoing President of Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, for serving as Chair of MBRT’s Board of Directors for the past five years. Gloria Flach will succeed Pitts as both Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems President and MBRT Chair.
The STEMnet campaign is a true collaboration between government, business, and education. In fact, it was recognized this year by the National Governor’s Association as a national model of public-private partnership.
Individuals and organizations interested in collaborating on the STEM campaign, please visit www.thestemnet.com.
Founded in 1992, the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education is a non-profit coalition of more than 100 leading employers that have made a long-term commitment to support education reform and student achievement in Maryland. For more information, visit www.mbrt.org.