The North Carolina Science Leadership Association Fall Professional Development Institute and Meeting were held on Tuesday, November 5th, 2015 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina at the Marriott Winston-Salem. Twelve leaders from the education, industry, federal, nonprofit and policy level shared their experiences, research, programs, and resources employed to make science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education accessible to all learners. Panelist leaders from Duke Energy, the North Carolina Center For Afterschool Programs, the North Carolina Virtual Public Schools, and STEM East discussed the following questions:
• What does STEM for all really mean?
• What must one do to support students and educators in the classroom, school, district, and state?
• What system of accountability will ensure meaningful integration and preparation in and out of the classroom?
• What models are scalable?
• What role does partnership and advocacy play in developing, sustaining, and disseminating effective approaches within The Tar Heel State and beyond?
The panel discussion was followed by three interactive workshops on case-based learning and teaching strategies, interdisciplinary, multi-modal learning for English Language Learner students, and advocacy strategies. These sessions provided research-based materials and resources for attendees to take back to their schools, informal learning settings, and community-based programs. The meeting concluded with a dinner where our guest speaker Dr. Julia V. Clark from the National Science Foundation presented international data of students’ performance in science and mathematics. Dr. Clark presented factors and information related to the achievement gap of American and international students. One of the most shocking findings from her presentation revealed that students in low poverty international countries are outperforming wealthy students in the United States. It is clear that there is still a lot of work to do nationally to make science accessible for all.
Submitted by Pamela Gilchrist