Oregon: STEM Hubs
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How do states create equitable access to real-world experiences for every learner?
Oregon is a geographically diverse state with renowned scenic beauty and rich natural resources on one hand, and innovative STEM industries and leaders on the other. However, the state’s assets are not equally distributed, and students, teachers, and schools might not have the time or proximity needed to access high-quality STEM opportunities.
Oregon’s STEM Hubs were created to facilitate regional partnerships that provide real-world opportunities for students to experience science, technology, engineering, and math in the state’s natural and man-made environments.
Regional STEM Hubs provide the connections and the infrastructure that allows programs and opportunities to be shared across multiple schools, districts, and regions so that any student in Oregon can access the rich resources available within the state's STEM ecosystem. STEM Hubs work collaboratively to bring new initiatives to the network, share learnings, and support the ongoing improvement of STEM teaching and learning across Oregon.
STEM Hubs' Commitment
STEM Hubs operate with the belief that every student, regardless of where they reside in Oregon, deserves access to the learning experiences that will inspire them to be innovators and prepare them to help solve the challenges of tomorrow. Through the state’s network of STEM Hubs, teachers and students can access opportunities, programs, or connections that would not otherwise be available.
Examples and Highlights:
Some of the programs that have been created through the work of the STEM Hubs include:
- Oregon Connections is a web-based tool connecting educators to industry professionals who share their skills and bring learning opportunities to the state’s students. Through in-person matches and virtual real-time sessions, industry professionals connect with classrooms to inspire and expose students to real-world opportunities.
- The Chief Science Officer Program elects advocates for STEM and innovation in schools and communities. Chief Science Officers are students elected by their peers in 6th to 12th grade to be liaisons for STEM and innovation in their schools and communities. Chief Science Officers receive leadership training, mentorship, and opportunities to work with business and civic leaders.
- STEM Beyond School provides a community of practice that builds connections among and the capacity of out-of-school educators to provide high-quality, hands-on STEM learning to historically underserved students in grades 3-8.
- The Oregon Science Project is an equity-focused, statewide professional learning network designed to build regional science education leadership throughout the state. The Oregon Science Project supports dozens of professional learning facilitators who lead regional teacher professional development programs around the Next Generation Science Standards. The Oregon Science Project works in the historically under-served rural and semi-rural areas of Oregon.
- Teacher externships give educators a chance to work with industry hosts to complete a mutually beneficial externship experience.