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Friday, April 25, 2014

Help Kids Access STEM! NJSACC Seeks STEM #VISTA Project Coordinator

Join NJSACC for an exciting year of service promoting exciting, hands-on STEM learning in NJ’s afterschool programs!

This posting is for a one-year AmeriCorps VISTA year of service. A modest living allowance is provided but this is NOT a permanent, salaried position with NJSACC.

More information about AmeriCorps VISTA may be found here.

This position is a great opportunity for a recent college graduate or anyone interested in changing careers to gain experience in the nonprofit sector. Those interested in youth development, informal education and STEM education are encouraged to apply.

Afterschool STEM VISTA Project Coordinator

Start Date: June 2014 (a required Pre-Service Orientation is June 17-20)

Application deadline: ASAP

Type: Full-time position. AmeriCorps VISTA members receive a modest living allowance depending on county of residence (about $1,000 per month).

Benefits: Health, Child Care, Relocation, Training, End of Service Education Award / ($5,550) or End of Service Cash Stipend ($1,500)

Location: Westfield, NJ

About this position:

NJSACC, the Statewide Network for NJ’s Afterschool Communities, in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance, want all children to have access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning opportunities in NJ’s afterschool programs.

High quality STEM-based afterschool programs provide the perfect environment to engage youth in STEM related topics without risk of academic failure, improve attitudes towards STEM fields, and increase the likelihood that youth will graduate and pursue a STEM career.

The STEM VISTA Project Coordinator will:

  • Map STEM afterschool programs, identify gaps of service, and develop partner engagement strategies;
  • Establish a community support system that links established afterschool programs with potential partners and STEM resources;
  • Serve in a technical assistance and coaching role in order to assist STEM programs in building their internal capacity; and ,
  • Will develop a model for recruiting, training, and matching STEM mentors in the local community with afterschool programs.
This position is a year-long assignment beginning in June 2014 and ending June 2015. Applicant must be willing to commit to a one-year assignment. A modest living allowance is provided but this is NOT a permanent, salaried position with NJSACC.

More information about AmeriCorps VISTA may be found here!

  • Must have strong writing, research and analytic skills
  • Must be proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint and a willingness to learn and use a variety of online tools
  • Must have valid driver’s license, access to a car and willingness to travel throughout NJ for meetings and events
  • The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated interest in STEM education, youth development, and/or community service
  • Ability to work independently and on a team
  • Ability to work with diverse groups of individuals and constituencies
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • A Bachelor’s degree is required for this position.

If you are interested in applying, please email your resume and a cover letter detailing your interest in this position to: Please direct questions to: -- no phone calls please. Interviews will be conducted via phone or in-person in Westfield.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ok Glass. . . Let’s celebrate Earth Day

Part of honoring Earth Day is celebrating the people who dedicate their lives to protecting our planet’s most vulnerable species. You’ll find one of those people in the tall grasslands of Nepal’s Chitwan National Park, where Sabita Malla, a senior research officer at World Wildlife Fund (WWF), is hard at work protecting rhinos and Bengal tigers from poaching. She spends her days collecting data about wildlife in order to track the animals, assess threats, and provide support where needed. Now, she’s getting help from something a bit unexpected: Google Glass.

Last year, WWF started exploring how smart eyewear could help further its conservation mission in the Arctic and the Amazon as part of the Giving through Glass Explorer program. Now they’ve brought it to Nepal to see how it could help monitor wild rhinos. Take a peek:

Click here to read from this article's source.

Math and Science Pay, But High Schoolers Care Less

Written by Brenda Cronin

Math and science are the peas and carrots of the jobs market: great for a career future, but resolutely unpopular with the young.

Even amid a relatively weak jobs picture, fewer U.S. high school students are taking up fields of study with proven earnings potential than was the case a decade ago.

That has translated into a chronic shortage of workers schooled in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, according to research released Wednesday.

The STEM Index, developed by U.S. News & World Report and RaytheonRTN +1.15% Co., found the number of American jobs requiring math or science knowledge increased to 16.8 million last year from 12.8 million in 2000.

Yet during the same period, U.S. high-school students’ interest in those subjects declined—and now stands below 2000 levels.

The findings are “both surprising and kind of depressing,” said Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News & World Report. The index is based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the College Board, the National Center for Education Statistics and other sources.

The trend has bedeviled many employers since before the most recent recession. A work force with inadequate STEM training “really is the big issue of our time,” said Steven Goldthwaite, chief executive of Metem Corp., a parts maker for the aerospace and power-generation industries. “I know from other CEO colleagues, it’s a constant source of discussion: ‘How do we find these skill levels?’ ”

Metem, of Parsippany, N.J., benefits from its location, Mr. Goldthwaite said, because New Jersey has more scientists and engineers per square mile than any other state. The company also relies on in-house training and internships to develop and improve skills among more than 280 employees.

Slipping test results illustrate the trend. One world-wide benchmark—the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Program for International Student Assessment—found that in 2012, U.S. high school students’ average scores in math and science ticked down below their 2000 results.

However, the situation is more nuanced than a number of data points and can differ by education level, said Grover “Russ” Whitehurst, director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution. In some cases, there seem to be “dramatic mismatches between what people are getting trained to do” and where the jobs are, he said.

For example, STEM training might pay off for those seeking work as plumbers, nurses or auto mechanics—positions that generally require an individual’s hands-on presence and are therefore less likely to be outsourced to countries with lower wages.

But demand for individuals with post-secondary STEM training isn’t as clear cut or reliable, Mr. Whitehurst said, which may explain why some college students aren’t seeking careers as engineers or science professors. Supply has outstripped demand for science PhDs at universities, he said, dissuading some students from pursuing paths in academic research.

“What’s needed is a policy that actually matches training and information about training with real opportunities,” he said. “And that kind of information is largely absent from our post-secondary [jobs] marketplace.”

A facility with even one of the four STEM fields raises an individual’s earnings potential, said Jonathan Rothwell, an associate fellow at Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program. His research found that, as of 2011, 20% of U.S. jobs required a comprehensive grasp of science, technology, engineering or math. Schools today may not be doing enough to persuade youth of the importance of math and science, he said, and that in turn disposes students to give such subjects short shrift.

Mr. Goldthwaite, of Metem, said it is up to educators, civic groups and employers to “introduce students to the excitement of science and technology.”

He sees that happening not only on the factory floor but also among the Boy Scouts, where he is chairman of the board of the Northern New Jersey council. Scout training across the country—STEM learning figures in 60 merit badges—can foster further education in high school and community colleges, he said.

Click here to read from this article's source.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

This Sat 4/26 NJ/PA Teachers, Parents, Admin and College Students: FREE Elementary iSTEM 1-Day Institute

Click here to download this brochure!

Saturday, April 26, 2014
9:00am - 2:00pm
Woodbrook Elementary School
15 Robin Rd, Edison, NJ 08820

  • Co-hosted by The College of New Jersey's Center for Excellence in STEM Education
  • Free Lunch
  • Workshops for: PD hrs, Live DJ, BMX Biker STEM Demo, MakerSpace & Lego Machines Demos, K-5 STEM Curriculum Showcases, Administrator Session, Raffle for Free Seats in Summer PD
  • A private tour of the Edison Museum after the event is over

Also, click here to check out this new video online to get a sneak peak of what iSTEM looks like with students in Edison's elementary classrooms and teacher PD sessions.

For registration and more information, visit:

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Said What He Thinks About Race Now That He's Made It, And Almost Nobody Noticed

To set the scene, the (poorly posed) question is referring to comments made by former Treasury Secretary and Harvard University President Lawrence Summers, who suggested that genetic differences could explain why there are fewer girls in science. Yup, he really was Treasury secretary and president of Harvard.

Neil deGrasse Tyson's answer is, um, out of this world. There, I said it. Let me have this one.

Click here to read from this article's source.

When Elite Parents Dominate Volunteers, Children Lose

Written by Debra Monroe

One long-ago day my mother took cupcakes to school wearing a pale yellow coat — not warm enough for the winter day, but she wanted to look nice. A classmate admired her. I was a little proud. I hoped to impress this classmate, or anyone. My dad was an alcoholic. A friend with a similar childhood calls it “impoverished.” I lacked currency: cash or social sway.

Thanks to student loans, I went to college. More improbably, I got a Ph.D. I took a job teaching at what was then a small state university in Texas. I was broke as I paid back loans. I stayed broke as I saved to adopt. When my daughter arrived, I had a modest income and the illusion of poise — more than a lot of people, and I knew it.

I lived in a village miles from the university because housing was cheaper. By the time my daughter started school, the village was turning into an Austin exurb, with people moving in after the high-tech boom. A flier came home, asking parents to volunteer because we would be helping all students. I signed up. Parents who worked for an hourly wage and chose between volunteering or earning money were unrepresented. Parents who lived in big, new houses ran the show.

Volunteering meant parties, I discovered. It meant “let them eat chocolate-mousse cake.”

No one actually said that. But one volunteer insisted on chocolate-mousse cake for Valentine’s Day, even as another argued it was too unfamiliar for third-graders. At the celebration, a boy who lived in a rundown house a few miles from me said he had been excited all week about cake. His face fell when he tasted it. “Gunk in the middle,” he said.

Another volunteer set the price for a Christmas gift exchange at $25. Too high, I said. She said to spend what I could. “I can afford $25,” I said, “but some people can’t.” She smiled. “No one but you is objecting.” On the day of the party, she was gone. A widow raising a grandchild had worried that some kids would show up without gifts and feel bad, so she had bought eight spares. They were necessary, and we remaining volunteers ponied up.

Then I married and moved to Austin proper. My salary is good. My husband’s is better. But this life is so new, so stroke-of-luck, I sometimes dream I’m moving back into one of the grim apartments I rented as a student. Then I wake up in my good neighborhood, its school district drawn in an amoeba shape for diversity’s sake. A second effect is the polarized student body: students from the poorest neighborhoods, students from the richest.

When a volunteer for a middle-school party wondered what food to serve, I suggested pizza. She said: “The kids want nice food. Spring rolls?” Another mentioned sushi. “My son loves it.” The first said, “My kids don’t.” No sushi for sixth grade then. Instead, spring rolls.

A girl who was homeless — couch-surfing with her mother — spent the night with us so she could attend this party. She arrived with a too-big dress with a broken zipper. I hand-sewed her into it and snipped out stitches at the end of the night. She looked at me with wallflower timidity. She was hungry, she said. The party food was “weird.” I fed her.

When my daughter started high school, I hoped students would plan their own events and that the dynamic that makes public school democratic — a place to confront the humanity of others — would prevail. Then I received an email outlining fees for girls who made cheerleading: $2,250. My daughter made the squad. So did her friend, whose mother requested a payment plan. No dice, said the organizers. Use a credit card. A payment plan would delay the order: multiple top-of-the-line uniforms per girl. I paid up, my emotions as divided as the student body. I felt happy for my daughter, yet guilty, complicit, thinking of girls who can’t afford to succeed.

A childless friend said to me: “You need to give that committee an earful.” Yet my daughter asked me not to object, not this time. She had worked hard to make cheerleading.

The problem is bigger than that. It’s an inescapable fact that extracurricular activities, which increase student investment in school, are planned by parents who have ample time and money, who sometimes lack insight into the lives of students whose parents don’t. I tried to advocate for these students. My empathy is tangible. Where exactly do you live again? a volunteer asked when I said pizza, not sushi.

I felt the condescension behind the question. I smiled while clenching my teeth — overruled, because parents who would agree with me can’t leave work.

Debra Monroe is the author of five books, most recently the memoir “On the Outskirts of Normal.”

Click here to read from this article's source.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

CryptoClub Summer Leader Training Workshop 6/23 - 6/25

The CryptoClub Project of the University of Illinois at Chicago is offering a 3-day leader-training workshop for middle-grade teachers and afterschool leaders on June 23-25, 2014.

Cryptography, the science of secret messages, is an intriguing STEM topic and an important application of mathematics.

CryptoClub is a 16-20 hour afterschool curriculum designed for students in grades 6-8. It uses games, treasure hunts, and other informal activities to engage students in learning cryptography and applying middle-school mathematics. The CryptoClub curriculum has been developed and tested with support from the National Science Foundation.

Our flyer can be viewed here. Additional information and an application may be found on our project website at:

Registration priority is given to applicants who have their administrator's approval to conduct a CryptoClub program in 2014-2015 and to those who apply by May 1, 2014.

Click here to read more.

STEM or STEAM? We're Missing the Point

Written by Vince Bertram

STEM education is one of the most talked about subjects in our country today -- and for good reason. From our K-12 system and post-secondary institutions to business, industry and government, most everyone is focused on -- or at least has something to say about -- STEM education as a key solution to improve educational performance and solve the persistent workforce development problems that plague our nation.

But what exactly is STEM education? It's much more than science, technology, engineering and math, which are usually taught as discrete subjects with math down one hallway in the school and science down another. Rather, STEM is the applied, integrated approach to those subjects. It is about using math and science to solve real-world challenges and problems. This applied, project-based way of teaching and learning allows students to understand and appreciate the relevancy of their work to the world around them. Arguably, STEM is at the core of everything.

I'm often asked why science, technology, engineering and math are the only words used to create the acronym, and when Project Lead The Way (PLTW), the STEM organization I am proud to lead, will change STEM to STEAM, STREAM or STEMM -- incorporating art, reading or music into the acronym. If that is the debate, we are clearly missing the point. It's not about adding to the acronym, but instead adding to the relevancy of learning. It's about showing students how technical concepts relate to real-world situations and providing them with hands-on projects and problems that help them apply concepts in a new context. It's about nurturing students' curiosity and helping them develop creativity, problem solving and critical thinking skills. STEM isn't simply the subjects in the acronym. It's an engaging and exciting way of teaching and learning.

On a recent flight to a speaking engagement in California, I had a conversation with the person sitting next to me. She asked me what I did, and when I told her, she remarked, "Oh, you're one of those." When I asked what she did, she explained that she was the creative director for an advertising agency, and the world of STEM seems to disregard, even dismiss, the arts. Moments later, she began working on her MacBook Pro, loaded with state-of-the-art software. So my question to her was "Who do you think made that laptop and developed the software for artists and creators like you?" STEM fields are at the core of everything we do. STEM connects to everything, whether it is the arts, music, sports or agriculture.

Look no further than the materials and technology artists use: computers and graphics, paint, a canvas. Computer scientists develop the graphics technology, chemists work to ensure the right chemical composition to create vibrant colors, and engineers design a stronger canvas that absorbs the right amount of paint. Furthermore, the same creativity that inspires beautiful works of art is the same creativity that has led to some of the world's highest-performing, usable and visually appealing inventions. For instance, the Corvette Stingray, the 2014 North American Car of the Year, is an engineering marvel and one of the top-performing automobiles on the market. But, it's also aesthetically appealing. The same could be said for your new light-weight running shoes, your single-serving coffee maker, or the acoustically designed facilities for your community's symphony orchestra. These are all examples of engineering and the arts working together, and they all resulted from the same design process engineers use to build the world's most advanced fighter jets, develop new energy solutions, and create targeted therapies for chronic diseases.

STEM can be found in virtually every discipline and in every product. STEM is not exclusive to the subjects of science, engineering, technology or math. We must continue engaging students in the STEM disciplines and encouraging them to combine technical knowledge and skills with the creativity that leads to innovative ideas -- ideas that give the arts new technologies, music new instruments, farmers new machines, and our businesses a competitive advantage. Unless we continue building the STEM pipeline, each profession suffers.

Click here to read from this article's source.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Robotics Funding an Investment in the Future

Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli is one of the brighter lights of the state Legislature. New Jerseyans from outside his 16th Legislative District — which cuts across parts of four Central Jersey counties — may not recognize the name. He doesn’t have a particularly high profile across the state, in part, we suspect, because he seems less inclined to play the sorts of political games that endear some of the more sycophantic rank-and-file to the powers that be.

But Ciattarelli’s voice deserves to be heard more widely. When he advocates for a cause, it’s worth a listen; even seemingly local issues on his radar typically have a broader application.

Consider, for instance, Ciattarelli’s championing of the Hillsborough Robotics team, specifically his belief that the district school board should help fund the extracurricular program. Ciattarelli is a Hillsborough resident without any direct ties to the program — he didn’t participate in his own youth, and his children don’t now. What he sees within Hillsborough robotics, however, is a microcosm of sorts of a greater educational dilemma. As a nation we increasingly talk about the importance of STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics — education, and we’ve taken some positive steps in that direction. Yet there remains a frequent reluctance to change, clinging to old curriculum notions — and that reluctance extends to extracurricular activities.

Put another way, sports is still king, and while our coaches and athletes don’t necessarily need to be dethroned, it would help if the pedestal upon which they sit came down a bit, with available money redistributed a bit to reflect a more academic emphasis in our schools.

Hillsborough does almost nothing for its robotics team which, by the way, isn’t comprised of a tiny group of geeks — Team 75, as Hillsborough Robotics is known, has more than a hundred members. The district pays a small stipend for faculty advisors, and that’s pretty much it. Otherwise, the team is heavily reliant on an annual contribution from Johnson & Johnson, and its own fundraising efforts. Other districts help their robotics program; Ciattarelli cites the examples of Bridgewater-Raritan, Hunterdon Central and Montgomery high schools, which provide robotics budgets between $10,000 and $18,000.

Click here to read the rest of this informative article.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April Rains Down with Sensational STEM News at Girls STEM Collaborative (GSGSC)

Click here to signup to receive future GSGSC newsletters!
Click here to read the latest GSGSC Newsletter now!
Click here to visit!

The Garden State Girls STEM Collaborative is the New Jersey initiative of the National Girls Collaborative Project, a program focused on providing high quality STEM activities to girls. Their primary goal is to strengthen the capacity of girl-serving STEM programs to effectively reach and serve underrepresented girls in STEM by sharing promising practice research and program models, outcomes, products and by connecting formal and informal educators, business and industry in order to maximize the resources that can positively influence our girls. Contact Mike MacEwan for more information how you can become involved.

In their latest issue, the Garden State Girls STEP Collaborative Project spotlights:
  • Join us for TEDx Youth@MT Olive Fri 4/11/14
  • Five-Minute Film Festival: 8 Videos to Encourage Girls in STEM
  • Check out NJ's Statewide Youth Advisory Boards via Rutgers
  • Take Advantage of this Valuable FREE Resource: Is your program listed?
  • Super-Cheap Paper Microscope Could Save Millions of Lives
  • Female Scientists Share Research and Career Stories with Teenage Girls
  • Bullying Victims' Video Strikes a Chord
  • Reminder to Register for TeenTech 2014 Thurs 5/29/14

Monday, April 7, 2014

Journal of Emerging Investigators (JEI) - a scientific journal for middle and high school scientists

The Journal of Emerging Investigators is an open-access journal that publishes original research in the biological and physical sciences that is written by middle and high school students.

JEI provides students, under the guidance of a teacher or advisor, the opportunity to submit and gain feedback on original research and to publish their findings in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Because grade-school students often lack access to formal research institutions, JEI expects that the work submitted by students may come from classroom-based projects, science fair projects, or other forms of mentor-supervised research.

JEI also promotes the opportunity for students to develop their own research and scientific questions, submit their work, and receive critical feedback from Harvard-trained scientists. In summary, it is the intention of this publication to promote science education in its truest form: by developing questions and thinking about and testing hypotheses.

Click here to learn more.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Encouraging Girls in STEM (great resource with videos)

There are some wonderful discussions in the Edutopia community right now about girls and STEM education -- have a peek at Women (and Girls) in STEM or Are We Getting Too Aggressive Promoting STEM to Girls? The fact is, women still make up less than a quarter of the STEM workforce in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The good news is that there are some amazing people, organizations, and companies working to remedy this. I've collected some videos to ignite your imagination about what girls can do in science, technology, engineering, and math -- when given opportunities and encouragement.

Video Playlist: Encouraging Girls in STEM

Watch the player below to see the whole playlist, or view it on YouTube here.

  1. Introduce A Girl To Engineering Day (06:21)
    This delightful video from USC Viterbi School of Engineering introduces us to real-life superheroes -- women in the engineering field who are saving the world with their work.
  2. Sylvia's Super-Awesome Demo Reel (03:16)
    At age 12, pint-sized maker Super-Awesome Sylvia already has a hit Web video series, several TED Talks, and a White House Science Fair under her belt. Her videos show low-cost or free experiments kids can try at home.
  3. Black Girls Code: Bridging The Digital Divide (03:10)
    If the statistics for women in STEM are shocking, the numbers for women of color are even smaller. In Oakland, Kimberly Bryant decided to make change on a grassroots level by founding Black Girls Code.
  4. GoldieBlox &; Rube Goldberg "Princess Machine" (02:08)
    The GoldieBlox back-story is pretty cool -- engineer Debbie Sterling started the company with her life savings, and a Kickstarter gone viral launched it to stellar success. Now, GoldieBlox has achieved its goal of "disrupting the pink aisle" with engineering toys for girls at major retailers around the country.
  5. Ada Lovelace: Great Minds (03:32)
    Celebrating women in STEM throughout history is a great way to inspire girls. Ada Lovelace is one of the more well-known role models, butSciSchow's Great Minds series also has episodes on Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin, Henrietta Swan Leavitt, Elizabeth Blackburn, and more.
  6. Terra Incognita - The Edge and Back (09:52)
    These six girls from Kentucky had a dream: to launch cameras into the stratosphere to record images of the earth's curvature and collect data. They raised over $5,000 and succeeded in their mission, and their exuberance is infectious. Read an Edutopia blog about them here.
  7. Where My Ladies At? (06:01)
    As a female YouTuber with a science show, Emily Graslie encounters her fair share of sexism. In this powerfully honest video, she calls out the problem of misogynistic commenters and sends a message of encouragement to women in STEM. Bonus: There's a great list of women YouTubers who make STEM shows in the description.
  8. Girls in STEM: A New Generation of Women in Science (07:52)
    This one feels a little slow, but the payoff is seeing the mind-blowing work of some of the girls who participated in the White House Science Fair in 2012, including a landmine detector, a bacteria-killing solar lunchbox, and a prosthetic hand.

More Resources on Keeping Girls Engaged in STEM

To paraphrase one of the articles below, supplying feminized traditional STEM toys to appeal to girls (hello, Lego Friends?) is not enough. Adults need to encourage girls to be curious and to tinker, find female role models in STEM careers, and offer chances to participate in programs or clubs that focus on STEM. Looking for ideas for other ways to motivate the girls in your classroom, your family, or your community to dig into STEM? Start by checking out the resources below, which include tip sheets, informational articles, and links to organizations who are dedicated to closing the persistent gender gap in STEM.
  • "Infographic: Why STEM Careers Are Awesome for Women," by Jessica Stillman via Women 2.0
  • "Fact Sheet: Women and Girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)," [PDF] via The White House
  • "Generation STEM: What Girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math," [PDF] via Girl Scouts Research Institute
  • "STEM Fields And The Gender Gap: Where Are The Women?" by Heather R. Huhman via Forbes
  • "Lipstick and Nail Files Won't Draw Women Into Science," by Audrey Iffert-Saleem via Slate
  • "The STEM Gender Gap," via NPR
  • Resources for Engaging Girls in STEM via National Girls Collaborative Project
  • "Tips for Encouraging Girls in STEM," via PBS Parents
  • STEM Resources via Center for STEM Education for Girls
  • "Tips For Encouraging Girls In STEM," via Girls Inc.
  • General Resources for Educators via GEMS Club: Girls Excelling in Math and Science
Click here to learn more!

Join this Webinar on Fri 4/17/14 - Afterschool & The Next Generation Science Standards: Where to start?

In this webinar, we'll start with NGSS 101, highlighting components especially of interest to afterschool. Katelyn Wamsted, program director at Girlstart in Austin, Texas, will then share why Girlstart chose to align its programs and curricula to NGSS, and the steps they’ve taken so far. Since school partnerships are key to productively engaging with the new standards, Katelyn will focus on how Girlstart develops and maintains strong relationships with their school sites.

Click here to register!


The National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve have completed a two-step process to develop the Next Generation Science Standards.

Step One: Getting the Science Right The National Research Council (NRC), the staff arm of the National Academy of Sciences, began by developing the Framework for K–12 Science Education. The Framework was a critical first step because it is grounded in the most current research on science and science learning and identified the science all K–12 students should know. To undertake this effort, the NRC convened a committee of 18 individuals who are nationally and internationally known in their respective fields. The committee was composed of practicing scientists, including two Nobel laureates, cognitive scientists, science education researchers, and science education standards and policy experts. In addition, the NRC used four design teams to develop the Framework. These design teams, in physical science, life science, earth/space science, and engineering, developed the framework for their respective disciplinary area. A public draft was released in July of 2010. The NRC reviewed comments and considered all feedback prior to releasing the final Framework on July 19, 2011. Read more about the Framework online here.

Step Two: States Developing Next Generation Science Standards In a process managed by Achieve, states lead the development of K–12 science standards, rich in content and practice, arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally-benchmarked science education. The NGSS is based on the Framework and will prepare students for college and careers. The NGSS was developed collaboratively with states and other stakeholders in science, science education, higher education and industry. Additional review and guidance was provided by advisory committees composed of nationally-recognized leaders in science and science education as well as business and industry. As part of the development process, the standards underwent multiple reviews from many stakeholders including two public drafts, allowing all who have a stake in science education an opportunity to inform the development of the standards. This process produced a set of high quality, college- and career-ready K–12 Next Generation Science Standards ready for state adoption. The standards were published on this website when they were completed in April 2013.

Why (And How) Students Are Learning To Code

Coding is more important now than ever before. With computer related jobs growing at a rate estimated to be 2x faster than other types of jobs, coding is becoming an important literacy for students to have and a more integral part of education and curricula. The handy infographic below takes a look at some of the interesting statistics about coding and computer science jobs. So if you aren’t yet sure why learning to code is important, you’ll find out below. Keep reading to learn more!

Coding: The Job of The Future
  • It is estimated that by 2020, computer related employment will increase by 22%
  • This will mean about 1.4 million jobs in computer science
  • The strongest demand will be for software developers
  • Computer programming jobs are growing at a rate estimated to be 2x faster than other types of jobs
  • Less than 2.4% of graduates graduate with a computer science degree
  • If current job trends continue, US citizens will only fill 30% of our country’s computer science jobs
  • Beginning in September 2014, England is implementing a compulsory computer coding in schools at all grade levels
  • A new bill has been introduced in the US which would qualify computer coding as a foreign language, and allocate grants for schools to teach coding as early as kindergarten
  • According to one CEO, an employee who understands how to code is worth $500,000 to $1M towards a company’s acquisition price

Click here to read from this article's source.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Princeton Conference Targets Concerning STEM Gender Gap for Young Women

By Times of Trenton Editorial Board

At a Princeton University chemistry lab last week, important personal discoveries were occurring by the dozens.

More than 400 girls from seventh to 10th grades were crowded around experiments at Frick Chemistry Lab for the Young Women’s Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM for short. The goal was to pique curiosity and plant seeds of knowledge among students to close a wide gender gap in STEM occupations.

“Days like this are incredibly important to spark that interest, maintain that interest and show them this path that they can follow if they so choose,” says Shannon Greco, science education program leader at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, which hosted the conference.

Women make up nearly half of the workforce, but U.S. Census figures show that women occupy 26 percent of STEM jobs. While that percentage has been increasing in recent decades, the growth has slowed since the 1990s, in part because of the declining percentage of women in computer occupations, according the census.

The young women’s conference at Princeton started in 2001 with about 200 students from 26 schools. This year’s event drew students from 46 schools in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Greco told Times of Trenton reporter Cristina Rojas that reaching students in grades 7 to 10 is the critical stage for encouraging careers in STEM.

“Middle school is when your interest in science gets sparked or crushed, which happens more for girls than boys,” Greco says. “But if we catch them now and show them that science is fun, interesting and beneficial to the world, they can maybe see themselves as scientists.”

There’s evidence of strong progress in some segments. In the 2011 census figures, women made up 47 percent of mathematical workers (up from 15 percent in 1970), and 41 percent of life and physical scientists (up from 14 percent in 1970). The biggest gap remains in engineering, which had women with 13 percent of the jobs in 2011 (up from 3 percent in 1970).

The cost of failing to nurture an interest for STEM careers in young women can be great. Women who work in STEM field earn 33 percent more than counterparts, according to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Efforts like the Princeton conference to close the STEM gender gap are well worth the investment.

Click here to read from the source of this editorial.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Don't Miss It! Join us Fri 4/11/14 for TEDxYouth@Mt.Olive 2014 - register free!

Click here to register free today

TEDxYouth@Mt.Olive is a forum created to bring middle and high school students into the TEDx movement.

This years theme is Challenge the Impossible.

What do you think is Impossible?

Our presenters will give you engaging stories, inspiring performances, and intriguing presentations, we will explore ideas together and explore what they mean to each of us. Is it the incredible passion and dedication of youth? Is it their boundless creativity and imagination? Is it their enthusiasm and optimism?

During TEDxYouth@Mt.Olive, we will discover that, for empowered youth, the possibilities are amazing!

Friday, April 11, 2014 11:00 AM

Mt. Olive PAC
Corey Road 18
Mount Olive Township, NJ 07836

Click here to contact the organizer.

NJ's Statewide Youth Advisory Boards via Rutgers

We at want to share the following opportunity to engage youth, with an information sheet included - please feel free to share as well:

Rutgers has been awarded a grant through the State to re-launch the Statewide Youth Advisory Board (YABs) program for young people between the ages of 14 and 22 who have been or are involved with DCF or DCP&P. There will be 15 YABs in total that are spread out throughout the state. They are an awesome way for young people who have been or are still involved with DCF to develop skills, participate in fun activities, and improve experiences for other youth. The meetings serve as a safe space for young people to come to and share their experiences and discuss how the system can be improved. Along the way, they will also receive trainings and have the opportunity to join in a variety of activities that will allow them to network with other youth and professionals.

Click here to download a FAQ page about the YABs (PDF)

Also, just a few more perks to get them excited about potentially becoming a member is that within each county’s YAB, there will be 4 paid officers (president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer). The YAB meetings will be held twice a month after school hours and will also have food and we can give the youth train or bus tickets to get there.

We basically want to see them grow personally and professionally and plan on doing everything we can to help nurture that growth. There will be skills trainings, enrichment activities, and community service events throughout the year for them to look forward to. They will even have the chance to make policy suggestions to the DCF!