Harrisburg, Pa., November 2 — Governor Tom Wolf launched the next phase of his new and innovative PAsmart initiative by announcing that $30 million in grants are available to invest in K-12 computer science and STEM education, expand registered apprenticeships, and support job training with industry partnership programs. The competitive grants will expand classroom instruction and professional development in the fast-growing fields of STEM and computer science, as well as training for in-demand careers, emerging industries and underserved populations. Afterschool programs are eligible to directly apply for the advancing grant.
Deadline: December 14, 2018
Deadline: December 28, 2018
Caroline Allen, PSAYDN coordinator, and Susan Spicka, Education Voters of PA executive director, talked about family engagement in afterschool on EPLC’s Focus on Education TV show with host Ron Cowell, Education Policy and Leadership Center president, and co-host Bonita Allen, PA PTA president. Focus on Education is a monthly program focusing on education issues in Pennsylvania.
On October 25, 8,400+ Lights On Afterschool events took place, 1 million Americans rallied for afterschool and 44 states and the CA Department of Education declared Lights On Afterschool Day. Programs across the nation celebrated by coding, dancing, hackerspaces, maker faires, robot battles, poetry slams, cultural diversity celebrations, and many other ways.
Mayor Kenney pitched community schools as a linchpin of his administration, a key reason Philadelphia needed the controversial soda tax. It would take a number of public schools and transform them with supports, resources and a city-paid staffer to coordinate them, enabling school staff to focus more on improving academics. Two years into the initiative — which has a $3.25 million budget this fiscal year — the city’s community schools are not yet transformed, and overall, the effort’s results have been mixed, according to a study released mid-October by Research for Action, the nonpartisan Philadelphia nonprofit.
Just how big of a problem is summer slide? Research by RAND suggests that students lose one month of learning after the summer holidays. The NWEA breaks it up by grade and subject, finding that students entering 4th grade lose 20 percent of their school year gains in reading and 27 percent in math, and students entering 8th grade lose 36 percent of their school year gains in reading and 50 percent in math. Furthermore, a 2007 study by Johns Hopkins on the Baltimore City school system takes a closer look at equity, and finds that summer learning loss contributes to two-thirds of the achievement gap between 9th graders from higher and lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
Students at Lincoln Middle School in Meriden are getting hands-on experience with coding and manufacturing in a new STEM Lab opened by the school this year. Lessons in the new laboratory are aligned with the school’s science curriculum, Principal Dianne Vumback said. “We’re trying to get more creative with our curriculum and this hands-on approach really reinforces the 3D concepts that they’re learning in the science classrooms,” Vumback said. STEM initiatives are being pushed by schools to address a growing manufacturing workforce shortage created by a lack of skilled workers entering the field to replace baby boomers exiting manufacturing. “We see this as the future. Everything is coding and technology, so the more they understand how things work, the better they’re prepared,” said Dave Levenduski, the school district’s supervisor of instruction and learning.