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NEWS RELEASES 2011-12

NEWS RELEASES 2011-12 :: SEPTEMBER 30, 2011

NC SCHOOLS, BUSINESSES COORDINATE EFFORTS TO ADVANCE
STEM EDUCATION

NCDPI and NC STEM partner to elevate local science, technology, engineering and mathematics initiatives.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC (Sept. 30, 2011) - The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) today announced new efforts to provide the essential tools and resources necessary to continue advancing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in local school districts across the state.

The new partnership with the NC STEM Community Collaborative (NC STEM) is a part of North Carolina's "Race to the Top" award, which provides federal funding for the Career & College, Ready, Set, Go! Initiative conceived and adopted by North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue. NC STEM will lead the effort to incorporate the resources and expertise to help scale the successes from state and local STEM education efforts. NC STEM will also assist the efforts of the NCDPI and other STEM partners to develop STEM anchor and cluster schools, build innovative STEM curricula, expand virtual courses, and increase the number and skills of teachers in STEM subjects.

"Strengthening education, one of my top priorities, is the key to our children's future and to building the workforce of tomorrow," said Gov. Bev Perdue, praising the coordinated approach. "Career & College: Ready Set Go! keeps North Carolina focused on the cutting edge of education innovation, especially critical areas like STEM. This new partnership will provide an enormous boost in teaching those invaluable skills."

The NCDPI will work with NC STEM to organize K-12 public and private initiatives into a coordinated statewide STEM strategy, which is slated to be completed this fall. This work brings together private-sector leaders and public-sector organizations such as the North Carolina Joining Our Businesses and Schools (JOBS) Commission led by Lt. Governor Walter Dalton.

"All North Carolina classrooms deserve access to resources and tools that will help students learn the important skills that will make them competitive in today's economy," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "NC STEM Community Collaborative is the state's leader in connecting great programs, schools, and districts with each other and private-sector partners and experts from around the nation - it's a key part of our STEM strategy."

NC STEM Leader Karl Rectanus said the strategy and corresponding framework with the NCDPI will align all the great STEM efforts and programs currently happening throughout the state, and facilitate the growth of the worthy innovations so all communities get what they need in order to positively impact their schools, workforce and economies.

"Many North Carolina School Districts have pockets of great STEM programs and schools," said Rectanus. "NC STEM's charge is to help scale homegrown innovations and to bring to North Carolina - through its national work - best practices from around the country to reach more students and teachers much more quickly. This creates a system of excellence that better prepares every student to compete for jobs of today and tomorrow."

Tom Vermillion, small business owner and board chairman of STEM East, a public/private partnership in Kinston, welcomed the announcement as an opportunity to highlight and expand their local efforts. STEM East and its partners, including Lenoir County Schools, Spirit Aerosystems, the Golden LEAF Foundation, and local industry and community organizations are expanding hands-on learning labs for middle school students into Lenoir, Wayne, Jones, and Craven counties.

"We're growing STEM down east to help our students and our businesses flourish, and we need the connections to other experts that NC STEM can provide," said Vermillion. "And, we think others in North Carolina need our innovations, too."

A $500,000 contract to support these efforts has been awarded to NC STEM and is expected to run through spring 2012.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 100 charter schools serving over 1.4 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

About NC STEM Community Collaborative
NC STEM Community Collaborative, housed at MCNC, is the statewide partner for STEM in North Carolina. NC STEM helps ensure all students engage in effective STEM education so they will have more choices for college and careers and bolster the economic strength of North Carolina’s communities. More information at http://www.ncstem.org.

Suggested Keywords and Tags
STEM, STEM education, STEM in North Carolina, NCDPI, North Carolina Schools, Karl Rectanus, June Atkinson, NC STEM, North Carolina STEM, nc, rtp, north carolina education, NC education, learning, distance learning, Ready Set Go, college and career, JOBS Commission, Walter Dalton, Beverly Perdue

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 107 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.


For more information:
NCDPI Communications and Information, 919.807.3450.