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Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathway

A free online strategic planning tool used by schools and/or districts to improve STEM education.

The Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathway is built on the belief that school systems, individual schools, and departments can improve their STEM education practices through a positive, collaborative approach. It is designed to help the widest possible range of school districts and schools adopt best practices in STEM education.



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HundrED has shortlisted this innovation to one of its innovation collections. The information on this page has been checked by HundrED.

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January 2019
The Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathway is built on the belief that school systems, individual schools, and departments can improve their STEM education practices through a positive, collaborative approach.

About the innovation

What is the Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathway?

It’s no secret that careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are the fastest growing industries around the world. In recent years, schools have been embracing STEM education like never before. But the question on educators’ minds is how to best implement and improve STEM practices in their schools. Each school and district has unique needs based on a variety of factors, so a one-size-fits-all strategy is nearly impossible.

Here’s how it works: Schools and districts (known as Pathway Partners) use the Pathway’s framework to determine what successful improvement of STEM education will look like for their institutions. After forming a diverse team of teachers, administrators, and support staff, the Partners take a self-evaluation of their status in the following areas: teacher qualifications, curriculum, instructional practices, assessment and demonstration of skills, family engagement, and real-world connections. The tool then guides the team through the creation of an action plan to help them meet their STEM-related goals.

After completing the Pathway Self-Evaluation, the team formulates a comprehensive action plan that details the specific steps in an implementation plan that your school or district will take to further your STEM-related goals. The tool then generates PDF reports that can be shared with administrators, teachers, and stakeholders.

“The Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathway Tool has provided our OC STEM Ecosystem team with focus and structure in our STEM planning,” said Jennifer Shepard, Assistant Superintendent Educational Services, Huntington Beach City School District, in California. “We were able to be very targeted as many stakeholders and individuals provided input, conducted activities, and created positive actions and outcomes for our educators and students. The Carnegie STEM Pathway Tool resource significantly benefited our team’s actions and supported us in our work toward accomplishing our goals!””

But implementing the action plan is not the end of this process. The Pathway is an iterative tool. At the completion of each action plan timeline, the cycle begins again – a new self-evaluation looks at how your school has improved, advises where to now focus your energy, and generates a new action plan. As a Pathway Partner, you will also join a network of schools and districts that are working to improve STEM education for all.

“The Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathway is opening the door to a more collaborative approach,” said Rob McKenzie, Instructional Technology Specialist and STEM Consultant for BLaST Intermediate Unit 17, a Pathway Provider. “Schools and districts are asking, ‘How can we build capacity, and can we do this together? Can we make our area and our region STEM stronger together?’”

Watch this video to learn more about the Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathway.

Implementation steps

Begin Your Pathway

Go to the Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathwaywebsite and register as a Pathway Partner (for schools/districts).

If you are an educational organization and are interested in becoming a Pathway Provider, please visit the Provider page to learn more about facilitating schools'/districts' engagement with the Pathway.

Form Your Team and Search for Nearby Provider

Form a STEM Leadership Team from across your school district or school, including a diverse group of critical thinkers who are passionate about STEM education. Choose a designated leader for the team who will compile the input of all parties and guide discussions.

Then, see if there is a Pathway Providerworkshop nearby to offer training and coaching as you go through this process. To see what a workshop with a Pathway Provider looks like, check out this video from the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Discuss STEM Education in Your School/District
Among the STEM Leadership Team, discuss what STEM education looks like in your school or district. Identify specific examples of how STEM education is implemented across different levels, settings, and sites.

Based on discussion and specific examples of how STEM education is implemented across different levels, settings and sites, have the team rate the district/school’s CURRENT status in 20 different priority areas, including problem-based learning, career awareness, and curriculum integration. See the example evaluation below to view all priority areas.

Create Action Plan and Identify Resources

Based on your responses, prioritize up to three goals, and create an action plan and a timeline. As you select goals, consider resources that may be available or attainable.

The Pathway tool also identifies resources on STEMispherethat can help guide you.

Work Toward Your Goals

Implement your action plan to help reach your goals and document your progress using the Pathway tool. Remember that collaboration is key! Continue to collaborate with your team and colleagues in your school/district.

Celebrate and Re-Evaluate

Congratulations! After implementing your Action Plan, take the time to recognize the achievement you have made in STEM education in your school/district. You can then complete the Self-Evaluation again to re-evaluate your progress and develop new goals in improving STEM education.

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