To support the pursuit of STEM degrees in Sarasota the Gulf Coast Community Foundation recently launched a new, $2.5 million, five-year initiative that aims to deeply integrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in our education system. The effort is called STEMsmart. It is part of a larger campaign that began in 2000 that provides resources and funding to secondary education, primarily in the science and math areas. An assessment commissioned by the Gulf Coast Board indicated that retaining educated youth and preparing our workforce for targeted future industries are critical issues for our region. Meanwhile, conversations with local school administrators, teachers, and students reinforced that science and math were areas that could be improved.
With the launch of the STEMsmart initiative, GCCF joins a growing national movement to provide teachers with the training and tools they need to prepare their students for the changing world. The goals of the initiative include:
Help local schools embrace Florida’s new, more rigorous Next Generation standards
Assist teachers in teaching these new standards through professional development
Make STEM programs meaningful, relative, and fun through internships
Rally the community with a public information campaign about the importance of STEMsmart
The STEMsmart program includes an innovation award which seeks to recognize any organization, business, product or service that embodies the spirit of STEMsmart – integrated thinking powered by inspiration and invention in equal doses. The monthly (and yearly) recognition will be much sought after, studied, celebrated, and publicized. Go to www.stemsmart.org to tender your nomination.