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News & Press: Colorado Technology Industry

Colorado STEMworks database gives proven STEM programs investment boost

Monday, July 25, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Fred Bauters
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DENVER – Today, five programs were either added to or advanced in the Colorado STEMworks database to help business leaders, funders and advocates pinpoint where to invest. In its second year, the database identifies highly impactful STEM programs that provide learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math.

Of the five programs, two were added to the database, two programs already in the database improved their standing, and one program already in the national database was added for its work in Colorado.

Colorado STEMworks was implemented by Colorado Technology Association (CTA) and Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) using Change the Equation’s national model, with a rigorous application and review process before any programs are added.

“Defining quality in STEM education and supporting programs to meet a high bar of excellence for Colorado students ensures that companies have a way to make meaningful investments in education,” said Angela Baber, STEM Director of CEI. “We are delighted to be welcoming more programs into this growing coalition of STEM programs that we know deliver results for Colorado kids and Colorado companies.”

Engaged STEM advocates around the nation use STEMworks to find proven and scalable STEM education programs to maximize their investment. In its first year, the STEMworks database received 17 applications and admitted seven programs. Including this year, there are a total of 20 programs listed.

“Arrow’s investment in STEMworks is an opportunity to help shape the next generation of employees,” said Alex West, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Arrow Electronics. “Will they work for Arrow some day? Who knows, but I certainly hope so. In addition to guiding innovation forward for many of the biggest names in technology, Arrow’s partnerships in the community also helps define who we are. For that reason, Arrow is proud to support STEMworks to help guide the next generation of innovators and business men and women forward.”

This year, CTA partnered with Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance and Colorado BioScience Association in the review process, convening volunteers to represent multiple STEM perspectives. The independent review committee and WestEd, an independent nonprofit research organization, reviewed each program against design principles.

The 2016 Colorado STEMworks reviewers were Audrey Thompson (Major Account Executive for Colorado and Wyoming, DELL), RJ Owen (Director of User Experience, Universal Mind), Jonita LeRoy (Senior IT Economic Development Rep., Governor’s Office of Information Technology), Tim Ruybal (Engineering Manager, Intertech Plastics, Inc.) and Vijaya Knight (Laboratory Director, Immunology / Assoc. Professor, Dept. of Medicine, National Jewish Health Advanced Diagnostic Laboratories).

Wendy Nkomo, Chief Development Officer at CTA, secured Colorado’s involvement with The Connectory, a national database with the objective to have all STEM programs across Colorado centrally listed and searchable. The database helps students and families find programs that best suit their interests and further increases access for STEM literacy for Colorado youth.

“Wendy’s work in implementing The Connectory into our collaborative efforts here in Colorado will make our state’s STEM programs far more accessible to those who need them to succeed,” said Andrea Young, CEO at CTA. “Our focus of building a homegrown tech talent pipeline paired with The Connectory creates a new model nationally for STEM advocacy and implementation.”

The programs admitted into or advanced in the Colorado STEMworks database in 2016:

Adams 12 Five Star STEM Schools & STEMinspired (Added to the Colorado STEMworks database as Promising) – STEMinspired is a network of educators and administrators committed to expanding sustainable, innovative STEM education across the country and beyond. Modeled after industry, our instructional approach is centered on problem solving and critical thinking. Industry and higher educational partners are at the center of our model and provide authentic feedback to our students, mentor, and work side by side with our educators. STEMinspired provides professional development and educational partnership to replicate our model in communities ranging from rural to urban. We are an entire educational and economic model, we see ourselves as a start-up enterprise with the same philosophies and fail fast and pivot attitude of our lean start up partners. Our model is all encompassing from kindergarten to AP Physics in high school, from music and drama to art and PE.

Open World Learning (Added to the Colorado STEMworks database as Accomplished) - OpenWorld Learning provides a fun and challenging after-school educational program centered on teaching advanced computer technology to Denver area students:  OWL aims to offer an equal opportunity by offering afterschool and summer programs for Title I, 3rd – 8th graders that help them develop digital literacy skills. OWL is a fun and safe way for these students to learn computer technology through projects and peer teaching. We provide these students with real-world learning opportunities they may otherwise not have access to, and they have been proven to improve school attendance and standardized test scores, especially in math.

ST Math (Added to the Colorado STEMworks database through the national STEMworks process) - Spatial and Temporal (ST) Math uses innovative technology to teach math concepts, problem solving techniques, and critical thinking skills to elementary school children. Schools that fully implement ST Math see double, and even triple, the growth in math proficiency when measured against comparable schools.

KidsTek (Advanced from Promising to Accomplished) - KidsTek is dedicated to increasing the technology literacy of Colorado’s underserved K-12 students through project-based, after-school technology education programs in K-8 schools and in-school technical certification programs that provide college credit in high schools. KidsTek provides students with the technical foundation needed in education and the workforce today. K-8 programs emphasize and develop skills around Internet research and Microsoft Office programs (such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) that are invaluable technology skills for any professional career.

LAB-AIDS (SEPUP) (Advanced from Promising to Accomplished) - The Science Education for Public Understanding Program (SEPUP) develops comprehensive and supplemental science curriculum materials and resources targeted at diverse student populations in grades 5-12. Since 2005 several STEM programs have been implemented in Colorado school districts, including SEPUP 6-8 (middle level life, earth, and physical science); SGI Biology (high school biology); and Science and Sustainability (high school environmental science).

About Colorado Education Initiative
Colorado Education Initiative is an independent non-profit that collaborates with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), schools and districts across the state to accelerate achievement for all Colorado students. CEI believes every student can reach his or her full potential with the right set of supports. This means that every student in Colorado is prepared and unafraid to succeed in school, work, and life, and to take on the challenges of today, tomorrow, and beyond.

About Colorado Technology Association

Colorado Technology Association (CTA) represents Colorado’s technology industry, one of the fastest growing sectors in the state. Colorado ranked second for its high-tech business concentration and the nine-county metro region ranked tenth out of the 50 largest metro areas in software employment concentration. CTA works locally and nationally to ensure Colorado’s technology voice is heard and is a member of TECNA, a coalition of technology associations across the United States and Canada, as well as with CompTIA, a national lobbying organization for federal issues. Since 1994, CTA has been involved in legislative issues and public policy to represent the technology industry in Colorado. CTA provides more than 50 programs, events and connections to support the industry. For more information on Colorado Technology Association please call (303) 592-4070 or visit Engage on social media by following #techobsessed.

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