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Press Release: Maryland Unveils STEM Strategic Plan, Tools To Spark Innovation

Plan Targets Five Goals To Help Improve Student Learning, State Competitiveness

For Immediate Release                             Contact: Bill Reinhard, 410-767-0486, 443-670-7072 (cell)

Baltimore, MD (October 28, 2014)

The Maryland State Department of Education today announced a new strategic plan for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education and launched a new website designed to kindle innovation in classrooms throughout the State.

The STEM Strategic Plan, presented to the Maryland State Board of Education, pinpoints five focus areas: professional learning, STEM resources, equity, Student STEM learning experiences, and communications.  By equipping educators with skills and tools for teaching and providing high quality resources that support teaching, improved STEM programs in public schools can lay the foundation for success for both students and the State.

“Better STEM programs in our schools represent an investment in our children and provide important preparation for their future success,” said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery.  “This plan is a map to the future, and our school systems are already moving forward.”

STEM education is an approach to teaching and learning that integrates the content and skills of science, technology, engineering and math.  “Overall, STEM occupations are projected to grow at a faster rate than the average for all occupations,” a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found earlier this year.  “And wages in these occupations were generally higher than the median for all occupations in May 2013.”

Governor O’Malley recognized the trend, and in 2009 a report by the Governor’s STEM Task Force made seven recommendations aimed at establishing Maryland as a global leader in workforce development.  MSDE’s STEM Strategic Plan builds on the Task Force report, establishing a path forward for education policy and practice in this essential area.

Pivotal to MSDE’s plan is its new STEM website, which provides context and resources for schools and school systems as they build out their own STEM strategies.  The site not only provides the goals and objectives for STEM, but also practical ideas on how to make it work.

For example, the site outlines the goal of building the capacity of educators to implement high-quality integrated STEM instruction, then provides examples that currently exist around the State.  To help ensure that Maryland’s students develop a strong foundation in STEM from an early age, the State has worked with teacher preparation programs and certifications to develop educators trained to teach an integrated STEM curriculum to elementary students. Through this initiative, 12 teacher preparation programs have changed their undergraduate and/or postgraduate programs to strengthen the skills of elementary teachers to teach integrated STEM content. To date, more than 500 teacher candidates have been impacted by changes made to pre-service elementary education programs as a result of this work. 

The STEM plan can be found here.