Arizona currently ranks near the bottom for math and science aptitude, however, the workforce demand for students entering the job market is increasing in STEM-based or STEM-related areas. In fact, the graduating class of 2020 will be entering into a job market in which 70% of employment opportunities will be based in STEM.
To help take a lead at better preparing students for, the workforce, Helios Education Foundation awarded Arizona Science Center a substantial $266,500 grant in an effort to help improve classroom instruction in STEM.
Helios Education Foundation is focused on creating opportunities for individuals to succeed in postsecondary education by advancing the academic preparedness of all students and fostering a high-expectation, college-going culture in Arizona and Florida. With Arizona Science Center having more than 30 years of experience in formal and informal learning and serving more than half a million Arizonans annually, in addition to the nearly 300,000 affected during the 2012-2013 school year by Professional Learning and Development, Helios Education Foundation found Arizona Science Center uniquely poised to lead the initiative of the grant.
With the generous grant, Arizona Science Center is embarking on a comprehensive solution that will address the education system as a whole, including administrative and teacher professional development and effective student learning. Because teachers are the single biggest factor in student success, the initiative will include professional learning and development sessions, one-to-one leadership and instructional coaching and independent reflective practice models helping teachers to further integrate critical components like problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration into their teaching methods.
The initiative is currently in the planning year in which Arizona Science Center will partner with three districts in the state to create an infrastructure that will aim to eventually affect hundreds of educational leaders and teachers and thousands of students in the state.