TIES, Ohio Department of Education, Other Partners Seek to Understand, Respond to STEM Needs and Goals Throughout Ohio
CAMBRIDGE – John Patterson, the Ohio Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reminded an audience attending a recent meeting of the Appalachian STEM Collaborative, ASC, how Ohio has long been an innovator in STEM.
Patterson rattled off a list of inventors from Ohio who set an example for today’s learners, including Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers and Harvey Firestone. Patterson, who served as the keynote speaker for a recent meeting of the ASC, said these inventors are among many illustrations of Ohio’s legacy for being a leader in STEM.
More than 200 people representing more than 55 school districts from 23 counties, dozens of businesses, six colleges and universities and other organizations have been working to design the ASC as a vehicle for driving STEM gains in the Southeastern part of Ohio.
“STEM in Appalachia is moving forward,” said Dan Leffingwell, director of ASC, and director of Innovation and Legislative Services for the East Central Ohio Educational Service Center.
Leffingwell, former superintendent of Noble Local Schools, has a unique view of the importance of bringing together partners from all sectors to work for shared goals and gains related to STEM.
“I can no longer be content preparing our students for their futures with the same skills that I learned when I was in school decades ago! We need to give them skills that will enable them to thrive in the next economy.”
TIES, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Education, the New Growth Group and others, has been working with leaders across the state to identify their STEM strengths and needs.
The work in Appalachia began in October with a STEM Listening and Learning Tour of the Appalachian region of Ohio with the goal of analyzing STEM education and workforce development needs, opportunities, challenges and strengths.
Those involved in the ASC have determined that they want to create academic environments that challenge students to develop problem-solving, critical thinking, and resilience through real-world experiences.
The design principles that the ASC have adopted also emphasize investing in and empowering teachers through educator support and building meaningful partnerships with cross-sector and community organizations to increase workforce development opportunities. The design principles encourage embracing the region’s history of innovation and collaboration to optimize STEM and STEAM programming and resources.
The work in Appalachia is being mirrored throughout the state and is connected to the Future Forward Ohio Initiative, the Ohio Department of Education’s efforts to leverage federal funds to help students recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
TIES, a Cleveland-based educational transformation consultancy, is the convener of the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice, now made up of 111 communities operating across the globe to drive gains in STEM for all.
In Ohio, TIES is conducting listening tours throughout the state with 5 remaining tours in Defiance, Shelby, Huron, Wyandot, and Ross counties, scheduled in May. For more information and to register for an upcoming listening tour visit https://bit.ly/OhioSTEMListening