January 31, 2020, the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council set about defining a course for the years to come. Strategizing commenced with small group discussions as to top priorities on the horizon. Over thirty imperatives were brought forth to be voted on, the highest frequency few to be advanced to action-planning. Five essentials rose to the top:
- Greater efforts toward diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM Council programs and personnel;
- Greater focus on STEM career awareness and guidance for K-12 students;
- More emphasis on STEM teachers – equipping pre-service majors to be job ready, and in-service teachers to adapt their STEM teaching;
- Identifying and replicating the best practices happening at the district level; and,
- A special interest area of Council leaders to study STEM and STEAM, i.e., broadening the Council’s scope and constituency.
Over the course of nearly a year, working groups developed recommendations presented to the Council through online exchange in the fall and reviewed by Governor Reynolds at year’s end. Today, an array of activities are underway on those fronts. Council representation by, and reach to, underserved subpopulations is under the microscope. Chartered task teams will support school counselors in STEM career guidance and enhance Council programs in creativity and innovation. Online resources will be expanded. Best practices in school-business partnerships, computer science education, work-based learning and more will be captured and catalogued for dissemination. Teachers-in-training and current practitioners will be encouraged to take part in Council opportunities.
Due to the 2020 vision work of the STEM Council, 2021 and beyond present a clear view of where to go next. Thanks to all Council members and committee volunteers for sharpening the lens on the Council’s perspective.