Working to Build STEM Education, in Washington State and Beyond

Washington is leading the country in creating STEM jobs. Washington STEM recognizes the need to prepare the state’s students to step into these roles and continue to drive innovation. At this year’s Washington STEM Summit, the attendees split into workshops to dig deeper into what it will take to expand STEM education and make it viable and effective for ALL students.

Driving Innovation and Impact: The Washington STEM Framework for Action and Accountability

Washington STEM is working with WestEd on a Framework for Action + Accountability. In an effort to provide a “specific and measurable goal around which various parties can align,” this framework helps to identify a common goal among Washingtonians in which “high school graduates are STEM literate, prepared and inspired for post-secondary degrees and certificates, and able to contribute to the demands of a highly-skilled workforce and society.” In this session we dove into the details of the framework and  discussed just what it would take to get everyone working towards a common vision of STEM education.


Transforming STEM Teaching and Learning: Pioneers and Promising Practices

The Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards add a rigorous platform to make sure that students are prepared for the future, but we also need to make sure that teachers are confident and prepared for implementing them effectively. We looked at several examples of how videos can support teachers and enhance learning for ALL students:

  • Professional Development: Washington STEM has worked with the University of Washington to build a library of video examples of model classrooms and Ambitious Teaching

  • Teacher reflection: providing teachers new ways to reflect and improve through the use of technology and group

  • Real Time Remote Coaching: we wrote about this in a little more detail in Leading the Way for 21st Century Instructional Coaches

Improvement is a process, and Washington STEM is working to provide teachers the support they need to help transform STEM education in the state and across the country.


Preparing The Future Workforce: New Models for Creating a Robust and Diverse STEM Pipeline

It is time to start partnering with entrepreneurs and industry leaders to create new models that can help grow STEM talent to fill the high tech jobs available here in Washington, as well as throughout our country. Panelists representing different positions joined together to help draw a clearer picture of how that can look in the near future.

  • Phillip Ohl, Vista Engineering Technologies, believes bringing mentors into the schools to be science fair judges, etc. meet with small groups of students and to work to solve STEM problems. Having students opt in is definitely part of the secret sauce.

  • Trevor Greene, 2013 National Principal of the Year, knows from personal experience that by implementing a leadership framework, STEM can address many issues and show great gains in overall student achievement.

  • Sheila Edwards Lange, University of Washington, knows STEM conversations need to include the changes in demographics that are on the horizon and how it could affect the achievement gap while also generating ideas on how to grow enough space and funding for STEM college degrees.

  • Michelle Page from, is working to demystify Computer Science and make it accessible to every student by providing learning tools for students and  professional development the help teachers to learn to code and guide their students into the future. Also,’s mission is to work on states to accept Computer Science as valid credit towards graduation.


Raising Awareness and Spreading Success: Advocacy and Policy Solutions

The misconceptions around implementing STEM education focus around typical misconceptions about what STEM really is and why it matters and can start to sound familiar. Having discussions and developing the responses together will help STEM education spread throughout the system. Washington STEM offered common misconceptions, and as group, we brainstormed and developed responses to help champion the STEM movement, whether you are talking to parents, teachers, administrators or policy makers.

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

Discover the latest in learning innovations

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.