This past week saw the City of Cambridge, The America21 Project, and Microsoft take action on advancing STEM education in a diverse community. More than 170 policy makers, business leaders, and non-profit organizations gathered at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School to develop action plans to advance STEM education locally. Cambridge is one of 4 pilot cities participating in a White House-driven initiative to encourage youth to embrace the study of science, engineering and technology.
Centered on breakout sessions to identify challenges and possible solutions, the event emphasized creating ownership and developing accountability for action steps. (A summary deck of the project can be found here). In addition, the event featured speakers such asSteven Grossman, Massachusetts State Treasurer, Jan Cuny, Program Manager at the National Science Foundation, Henrietta Davis, Mayor of Cambridge, and Dr. Jeffrey Young, Superintendent of Cambridge Public Schools.
Dr. Young mentioned the unique nature of Cambridge: a highly diverse community with two of the world’s top universities (Harvard and MIT), two top technology firms (Microsoft and Google), a large number of innovative start-ups, and an impressive array of non-profits – all of which can surely benefit the students in Cambridge.
Noting that “the city of Cambridge has a long tradition at being at the forefront of the innovation economy,” Cambridge Mayor Henrietta Davis echoed these remarks. “In partnership with Microsoft Research and The America21 Project, we look forward to giving our young people greater access to the resources and opportunities available at these academic and industry centers. President Obama has made STEM education a national priority, and we in Cambridge are coming together as a community to make that priority a reality.”
For its part, Microsoft has also committed to bring AP Computer Science to the Cambridge Rindge and Latin school through theTEALS (Technology Education And Literacy in Schools) initiative, providing lab support and helping to build teacher capacity. Soon we will begin to recruit industry experts who want to help teach these classes. To attend an info session on TEALS volunteer opportunities, please email Aimee Sprung ([email protected]).
A special thank you is due to the people spearheading this important effort: Mayor of Cambridge Henrietta Davis and Superintendent of Cambridge Public Schools Dr. Jeffrey Young, who have provided the vision and brought together diverse stakeholders to advance STEM education in Cambridge. In addition, a special thanks is due to Rane Johnson-Stempson, Education and Scholarly Communication Principal Research Director of Microsoft Research, for her championing of this very important initiative to further STEM education.