Start STEM in your school

Want to start a STEM program that benefits all students? Here are a few tips from our experts:

1. Align preK-12 education with demand from business world. Education should keep up with changing needs of industry, and prepare students to be problem-solvers and design thinkers, says Patty Quinones, assistant superintendent of innovation at St. Vrain Valley School District.

2. Consider community readiness. Local business, government, and higher education must be willing to work with districts to provide students with stronger STEM opportunities, says Misti Ruthven, executive director of student pathways for the Colorado Department of Education.

Link to main story: STEM seals give graduates leg up in careers and college education

3. Collaborate with higher education and business. District leaders should initiate conversations to determine what experiences and skills high school students need to be successful after graduation, says Claus von Zastrow, chief operating officer and research director for Change the Equation. Discussions should include employers from a cross section of industries.

4. Consider multiple endorsements. Students who plan to pursue higher education may need different skills than students who go directly into the workforce need, von Zastrow says. For example, an endorsement indicating college readiness could include courses like calculus and physics, while an industry certification without calculus might be more valuable for students planning to enter the workforce.

Jessica Ablamsky is a freelance writer in California.

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