The STEMsmart Movement
It starts with the students who rush into their math and science classrooms before the bell rings. They are eager to play—er, learn in their technology-rich classroom. Today’s guest speaker runs a local tech company that designs 3D video games—er, interactive education platforms to teach anatomy. This is a typical day in Sarasota and Charlotte county schools where science, technology, engineering, and math are championed through Gulf Coast Community Foundation's STEMsmart initiative. A few years ago, the Gulf Coast Board of Directors took a hard look at the question, “Are we doing the best we can for our students?” What we discovered was that students were not prepared for the jobs of the future. Jobs that will require proficiency in STEM disciplines. Taking a proactive step (as we always do at Gulf Coast), we developed and seeded STEMsmart, a partnership with the Sarasota and Charlotte county school districts, teachers, students, and businesses. The result has been a veritable movement in our community that has empowered 21st-century teachers, improved end-of-year exam scores, and inspired local businesses about their future employees.
Transforming Science and Math Education
STEMsmart is transforming the way teachers teach and students learn math and science in Sarasota and Charlotte counties. The most visible transformation: the reinvented STEMsmart classrooms installed in middle schools across Sarasota County. These classrooms have state-of-the-art technology that makes learning interactive, collaborative, and immediate. Thanks to a challenge gift from an anonymous donor, Gulf Coast was able to leverage the philanthropic support of the community and convert all 160 math and science classrooms in Sarasota County into STEMsmart Classrooms. You can watch this short video to see a classroom transform before your eyes:
STEMsmart Collaboration Celebration
The sweeping impact of STEMsmart can be attributed, in large part, to the strong partnerships developed by Gulf Coast, Sarasota and Charlotte County schools, philanthropists, and business leaders. The success of the collaboration and initiative was recently celebrated at the STEMsmart Collaboration Celebration and three leaders were honored with the STEMsmart Champion Award. Watch this video to meet the STEMsmart Champions and hear them describe the five-year history and keys to success of the $9-million initiative.
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