G R A N D C H A L L E N G E S
South Carolina STEM Education
In July of 2017, South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics and Science (SCCMS) was awarded one of only three “Challenge Grants” issued by STEMx/Battelle. Using these funds, and with additional support from Boeing SC, Comporium and Fluor, SCCMS hosted the “Grand Challenges in SC STEM Summit” this past October in Columbia, SC. Summit dialog was centered on research conducted by 100Kin10, a national network committed to adding 100,000 excellent STEM teachers to U.S. classrooms by 2021. Their research seeks to identify root causes and possible actions to address the critical shortage of STEM teachers. Thought leaders from across South Carolina added to this knowledge base through their responses to interview questions designed collaboratively by Grace Doramus, director of strategic initiatives at 100Kin10 and SCCMS staff.
Ultimately, there were two goals in mind for the Summit:
Plant seeds for future STEM education partnerships and collaborations.
Identify five, system-wide, grand challenges within our state that we might successfully master within five years’ time if we act together to maximize our individual and organizational strengths and resources.
Attendees came from across the state and from all walks of life including business/industry, the arts, out-of-school learning places, government, classrooms and more.
Unlike previous SC STEM summits, the focus of thought and action came from the participants themselves rather than being generated by external speakers, panelists or other presenters. Together, we explored the 100Kin10 Challenge Tree System Map to identify challenges most relevant to our state.
Particularly effective was the use of South Carolina interview data to identify a set of Super Themes as organizers for the themes, challenges, and catalysts already identified in the challenge map. Sessions were facilitated by S²TEM Centers SC staff, who worked to ensure that dialogue and discussion stayed on point and yielded the results we were after.
In the end, the day’s conversations validated our contention that STEM leaders would rally around a few catalytic challenges to move STEM teaching and learning forward. However, the task of reviewing more than 100 challenges and whittling them to five was too daunting to be completed in a single day. To launch into next steps, Summit participants made personal commitments to broaden their networks in the SC STEM community and to share what they learned with their colleagues.
For South Carolina STEM education, the Summit was only the beginning. Findings were presented to multiple audiences throughout the following months and refined into actionable challenges.
Engage individuals and organizations in advocating for quality STEM education.
Build awareness of the value of STEM education and career opportunities across the community.
Expand educators’ STEM content knowledge and career awareness through professional learning experiences that engage SC’s STEM business/industry experts.
Build leadership capacity of STEM educators, including school & district administrators, both in schools and across the community.
Recruit and retain STEM educators through financial and other incentives.
Now it's time for action! Get involved by joining an action team.
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Contact us for more information on Grand Challenges or to join an interest team.