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South King County STEM Network awarded $200,000 grant

For the Reporter

The South King County STEM Network announced today it will receive a $20,000 multi-year grant from Washington STEM to help improve teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and math in the region.

The network is part of the Road Map Project, a community-wide effort aimed at dramatically improving student achievement from cradle to college and career in South King County and South Seattle.

The network will begin convening the fall and bring together school district and community college educators, community and nonprofit leaders, STEM professionals and other education stakeholders to build awareness and enthusiasm for STEM.

The Washington STEM investment also will help the network leverage federal Race to the Top funds to create a career awareness and exploration system for the region's students and capitalize on emerging opportunities to improve STEM learning. The Community Center for Education Results, the nonprofit organization that supports the Road Map Project, will take on the lead staffing role for the South King County STEM Network.

Closing the unacceptable opportunity gaps in math and science across the region is a paramount goal of the network.

According to the 2013 Road Map Project Results Report, Asian and white students performed twice as well as black and Native American students in seventh-grade math. The region's eighth-grade science scores also reveal a 45-percentage point disparity among the highest and lowest performing race/ethnic student groups.

"Research shows one of the most effective ways to close the opportunity gap is by better supporting our math and science teachers in their important roles," said Dana Riley-Black, PhD, director for Logan Center for Education at the Institute for Systems Biology and member of the South King County STEM Network. "We live in a STEM-intensive society and economy, and must do a great job of teaching math and science to all our students to assure they are prepared as citizens and for the labor market. This grant will help our region do just that by providing opportunities for relevant, in-depth teacher professional development and curriculum enhancements."

Several South King County schools are participating in the expansion of Washington STEM's state-of-the-art professional development initiative for STEM teachers, called STEM-PD. Those schools are: Academy of Citizenship & Empowerment, Arts and Academics Academy, Cascade Middle School, Chinook Middle School, Gregory Heights Elementary School, Health Science & Human Services High School and Technology, Engineering, & Communications High School (all in Highline Public Schools).

For a statewide list of the 45 schools participating in the professional development initiative, please go to www.washingtonstem.org/stem-pd.

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