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Building STEM Education Efforts in Regional Schools

For the second year in a row, Peggy Willcuts, Science & Engineering Education Division (SEE), facilitated the Washington State LASER STEM Education Leadership Institute, which hosted school and district teams from across Washington state for a week-long residential learning experience.

Jeff Estes, SEE division director, kicked off the event June 24 as co-director of Washington State LASER. Teams consisted of teachers, administrators and community Blue Ridge Elementary (Janifer Sams and Kristin Garcia, science specialists with Kim Doepker, principal) in partnership with Whitman College (Mary Burt, outreach coordinator and Corinne Pingul, Whitman student).partners engaged in learning experiences designed to enhance their collective knowledge of STEM education in K-12. Teams learned how they could impact their own systems through the development of an action plan designed to address critical elements such as creating a shared vision, managing change, building advocacy, providing ongoing professional development and building partnerships within the community.

Four of the ten school teams (at the Institute) were from the southeast Washington region.  Blue Ridge Elementary from Walla Walla joined Robinson and Livingston Elementary from Pasco and a Richland School District's middle school team. Teams submitted action plans and designed logos to brand their efforts. Each of the teams will continue to receive technical assistance throughout the school year to launch STEM education in their schools. The four teams join the six teams from summer 2012 (Ochoa, Stevens, and McLoughlin middle schools from Pasco, Columbia/Burbank Elementary, Finley Elementary and Kennewick School District).

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