STEM Learning Ecosystems Selects Michigan STEM Partnership to Join National Initiative and Receive Support to Build Regional Partnerships Focused on STEM Education Pathways

STEM Funders Network to support Michigan STEM Partnership’s Southeast Michigan STEM Alliance in collaborations that impact youth from pre-school through college and engage students during and after school

STEM Ecosystems logoThe newly-formed Southeast Michigan STEM Alliance, formed by the Michigan STEM Partnership, has just been selected to join the STEM Learning Ecosystems national initiative to make a significant impact on STEM education and workforce development. As announced at the U.S. News STEM Solutions National Leadership Conference on May 25th, Southeast Michigan is one of 17 regional Ecosystems added to the national Initiative, which now encompasses 54 communities.

In just two years, the STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative has become a thriving network of hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals, joined in regional partnerships with the objective of collaborating in new and creative ways to increase equity, quality and STEM learning outcomes for all youth.

“It’s so important to consider the entire continuum of education,” said STEM Learning Ecosystem co-chairs Gerald Solomon, Executive Director, Samueli Foundation, and Ron Ottinger, Director of STEM Next. “The growing Community of Practice shares ideas and best practices for innovative learning that will benefit students’ individual development and prepare them for the demands of the 21st century workforce.”

The Michigan STEM Partnership’s Southeast Michigan STEM Alliance was selected to be one of 17 incoming ecosystem communities because of a demonstrated commitment to cross-sector collaborations in schools and beyond the classroom—in after-school and summer programs, at home, with local business and industry partners, and in science centers, libraries and other places both virtual and physical. As STEM Ecosystems evolve, students will be able to connect what is learned in and out-of-school with real-world opportunities.

“It makes sense to collaborate with like-minded organizations, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy,” said Gary Farina, Executive Director of the Michigan STEM Partnership and its’ Southeast Michigan STEM Alliance. “STEM Ecosystems provides technical assistance and infrastructure support so that we can tailor quality STEM learning opportunities to our specific needs in Southeast Michigan while leveraging the experience of similar alliances across the country.”

Early plans for [the Southeast Michigan STEM Alliance] are to expand representation on the Alliance leadership council, including all levels of education, business/corporate members, community, service and professional organizations, government, and other stakeholders to begin regional development planning efforts.

The following ecosystem communities were selected to become part of the national STEM Learning Ecosystem:

  • Arizona: Flagstaff STEM Learning Ecosystem
  • California: Region 5 STEAM in Expanded Learning Ecosystem (San Benito, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey Counties)
  • Louisiana: Baton Rouge STEM Learning Network
  • Massachusetts: Cape Cod Regional STEM Network
  • Michigan: Michigan STEM Partnership / Southeast Michigan STEM Alliance
  • Missouri: Louis Regional STEM Learning Ecosystem
  • New Jersey: Delran STEM Ecosystem Alliance (Burlington County)
  • New Jersey: Newark STEAM Coalition
  • New York: WNY STEM (Western New York State)
  • New York: North Country STEM Network (seven counties of Northern New York State)
  • Ohio: Belmont County Ohio STEM Initiative
  • Ohio: STEM Works East Central Ohio
  • Oklahoma: Mayes County STEM Alliance
  • Pennsylvania: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery STEM Learning Ecosystem
  • Washington: The Washington STEM Network
  • Wisconsin: Greater Green Bay STEM Network
  • Canada: Symbiosis, British Columbia, Canada

Learn more about the national initiative at stemecosystems.org. Address specific questions to info@stemecosystems.org. Join online conversations on Twitter @STEMecosystems and #STEMecosystems and on Facebook. Local STEM information can be found at MISTEMPartnership.com, and local STEM conversations can be joined on Twitter @STEMPartnership and on Facebook at MISTEMPartnership.

MI Film Office Achieves Success in 1st Year Partnership with Google CS First Program, Expands Benefits to Participants

Colorful Google CS First LogoThe Michigan Film & Digital Media Office (MFDMO) unveiled a partnership with the Google CS First Education Program in November 2015 and launched the program statewide in January 2016. Since then it was embraced by schools around the state, and is still currently being offered as part of a summer school activity or ‘camp’.

Because of the great success of the program here in Michigan, Google is now utilizing our state as a model to get more states and regions involved in the CS First Program! They started by giving us our own landing page about the program here in Michigan to show the success we’ve achieved, check it out HERE. More exciting announcements are coming!

Here in Michigan, we have a few announcements of our own! The MFDMO is adding several benefits to the program for participating schools that are new to the MFDMO partnership, or returning schools that register their club(s) for the 2016-2017 school year:  headphones and digital badging!

Headphones

Beginning September 1, the MFDMO will provide up to 20 headphones per school that joins for the first time in 2016-2017, and up to 20 headphones for any school participated in 2015=2016 and that confirms their ongoing participation as of September 1 in the MFDMO partnership for the 2016-2017 school year.

A new school must sign up for the partnership with the MFDMO, and enroll a minimum of 20 students to be eligible to receive the headphones. A returning school must verify their ongoing participation for the 2016=2017 school year by updating their participation data (a reminder will be sent on or around September 1) and enroll a minimum of 20 students in the program.

To place a request for headphones, the CS First contact person for your school should send an email request to csfirst@michigan.org, and include a delivery address for the school where the headphones should be sent. We will monitor new school signups and renewals that we receive online beginning September 1 to verify your eligibility, and headphones will be shipped during early to mid-September.

NOTE:  Each school, homeschool, or other youth-centered organization is considered one entity; maximum number of headphones per school/entity is 20. Homeschools will be limited to one set of headphones.

Digital Badging

In partnership with Google and the Michigan Department of Education, the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office (MFDMO) is excited to offer students the ability to share their success in the CS First program by earning a digital badge specific to the completion of Digital Badges from Google CS & MI Film & MI Eductheir CS First Club theme. The CS First Digital Badging Program is an EXCLUSIVE opportunity for clubs that have signed up for the CS First program through the MFDMO and in partnership with Google. Please click here for more information on the digital badging program and how to access the badges.

We at the Michigan STEM Partnership encourage you to learn more about the MFDMO partnership and the CS First Program effort to ensure Michigan youth have access to this unique curriculum that requires no previous computer science experience.

Joining this effort is an easy, two-step process:

  1. Complete the MFDMO online registration form.
  2. Start a club and receive lesson plans on the CS First website.

Should you have questions on this program, or either of these new benefits, you can reach out to Jenell Leonard, Commissioner of the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office.

Inner-city Students in Grand Rapids Learn How to Code Apps

MI Labs - MainWith assistance from Michigan Software Labs, a member of the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan (MTAM), on Wednesday, July 20th, a group of elementary students at the Gerald R. Ford Academic Center were introduced to software development. With the recent excitement around Poke’mon Go, the students were very interested in learning how to develop apps. The Oakdale Neighbor’s Initiative was put on by volunteers from Michigan Software Labs as a way for students to be exposed to an important skill they might not otherwise have access to learning.

Josh Hulst, a Partner at Michigan Software Labs, said “we were really impressed with these MI Labs2young students and their ability to learn how to code.” The goal of the session was to have student write a simple program that could be run like an app on a table device. The students learned skills such as writing simple code commands, starting a program, and arranging characters on a screen.

MI Labs3The tablets were donated, and all of the instructors were volunteers who are professional mobile app developers. The content was part of ScratchJr. ScratchJr. teaches young children (ages 5 – 7) how to program their own interactive stories and games. Throughout this process, they learn to solve problems, design projects, and express themselves creatively on a computer.

GM Encourages Minority Participation in STEM Careers

100BlkMen_Students_t580Like most companies engaged in the use of technology these days, Michigan-based General Motors is finding it harder and harder to locate and hire staff with the knowledge and skills needed in today’s rapidly-changing hi-tech world.

To help change this dynamic, the firm is making efforts nationwide to encourage students to pursue STEM-focused careers.

A recent article in BlackPressUSA details the firm’s recent participation in a panel discussion hosted by ‘100 Black Men of America’, an organization dedicated to educating and empowering African American youth, at their annual conference in Atlanta, GA.

Get the details about the event and GM’s participation HERE

Michigan can become the world leader in STEM education and careers

This article is a from a news release issued by the Michigan Department of Education.


Michigan has the potential to become a world leader in STEM education and careers, due to strong talent, educational institutions and thriving industries, according to a report released today by the MiSTEM Advisory Council*.

“Having top talent means preparing our students early for in-demand careers to make Michigan the center for brainpower and 21st Century innovation,” Governor Rick Snyder said. “I appreciate the council for its hard work to make sure we are on the right path, and look forward to their continued partnership as we make Michigan a leader in STEM.”

The MiSTEM Advisory Council, which was created in 2015 by the state Legislature to develop recommendations to promote STEM education and careers around the state, released its first report highlighting Michigan’s strengths in science, technology, engineering and math while making recommendations for improvements.

“Every student being able to take STEM programming is a key strategy in building Michigan into a Top 10 education state in 10 years,” said State Superintendent Brian Whiston. “Let’s take this opportunity and put it into gear.”

The MiSTEM Advisory Council includes business, higher education, K-12 education, and philanthropic leaders, as well as state legislators.

“These recommendations are the next step in Michigan’s ongoing effort to ensure we prepare every child and worker to obtain good-paying career opportunities and achieve their dreams right here in Michigan,” said state Senator John Proos, R-St. Joseph, a member of the council. “I have long supported STEM education, because these rigorous areas of study are vital to our future. I will continue to encourage schools to actively engage with job providers to design and implement curriculum that meets our skilled workforce needs and ensures all Michigan students are given a path to success.”

The council’s approach to STEM in Michigan focus on four key efforts including:

  • creating a new culture of STEM
  • strengthening the educator pipeline
  • integration between business and education
  • ensuring quality STEM experience

“I am excited about using the arts and creativity to attract under-represented students to STEM programs; to make it relevant to all students and not just those already interested in STEM,” said state Rep. Leslie Love, D-Detroit, a member of the council. “It’s infinitely more exciting, especially in an increasingly inter-disciplinary and digital world.”

The MiSTEM Advisory Council will publish recommendations annually. This year’s full report is attached.


*MiSTEM Advisory Council

The 11-member council was created by Governor Rick Snyder in 2015 to advise the governor, legislature, the Department of Talent and Economic Development, and the Department of Education with recommendations designed to improve and promote innovation and collaboration in STEM education and prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The council shall recommend a statewide strategy for delivering STEM education-related opportunities to pupils and objective criteria for determining preferred STEM programs and make recommendations to the governor and the legislature no later than March 1, 2016.