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South LA Elementary Schools Get Blended Learning Boost from Donors and Community

A Public-Private Partnership Aims to Improve Math Skills and Put Students on Path to Success

Los Angeles, Calif., Oct. 10, 2013 | The nonprofit MIND Research Institute and Los Angeles Unified School District on Wednesday announced a public-private partnership to invest in a proven, research-based blended learning math program for elementary students in one of the most impoverished parts of Los Angeles. The launch of the South LA Community Math Project was celebrated at 96th Street Elementary School.
 
With funding from donors, schools and MIND Research, the South LA Community Math Project will provide grants to approximately 20 high-need schools in the area to implement MIND Research’s blended learning ST Math program, which includes instructional software, teacher training and year-round educational support.
 
Research by the University of California, Irvine’s Greg Duncan shows that early math skills are the number one predictor of later academic success, high school graduation rates and college matriculation.  By focusing on math skills, the partners hope to dramatically improve the future prospects for  South LA children, and establish the foundation for careers in high-demand science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
 
“MIND Research Institute’s ST Math program has already proven effective at improving students’ math performance in LAUSD,” said Robert “Bob” Bravo, Instructional Area Superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District. “We’re excited to launch this new partnership to attract greater community and donor support for math education our South LA schools.”
 
ST Math is used by more than 80,000 students in Los Angeles County, many funded by philanthropy and MIND Research grants – including 11 Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. Earlier this year, the independent third-party education research firm WestEd published a study verifying that 45 LAUSD schools using the program saw nearly twice the growth in math proficiency compared to others. ST Math’s “effect size” on test scores was found to be well beyond what the Federal What Works Clearinghouse has deemed “substantively important.”
 
“We’re committed to ensuring that all children are mathematically equipped to solve the world’s most challenging problems,” said Matthew Peterson, Ph.D., co-founder and chief operating officer of MIND Research Institute. “What better place to work on that mission than South LA, which has its share of challenges as well as tremendous hope and promise for the future.”
 
MIND’s ST Math program provides visual, computer-based math games that support deep understanding of concepts covered by California math standards at each grade level. Because the program doesn’t rely on language proficiency or prior math proficiency, it’s accessible for English Language Learners and children with learning disabilities. Students use ST Math for 45 minutes on the computer, twice a week under their teacher’s supervision, in a blended learning environment. The teachers are trained on how to connect the visual puzzles to their conventional symbolic texts, and coached on how to guide children through challenging sections by getting them to express their thinking, rather than simply showing them the solution.
 
About MIND Research Institute
MIND Research Institute is an education nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world’s most challenging problems. MIND’s distinctive visual approach to math and problem-solving is the basis of its innovative, research-proven ST Math® programs for elementary and secondary schools. MIND’s programs currently reach over 500,000 students and 21,000 teachers in more than 1,780 schools in 30 states. For more information, visit www.mindresearch.net.
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Today's CEO Leader in STEM: Stephen R. Howe, Jr of Ernst & Young

The100 CEO Leaders in STEM Blog Series features a new CEO Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st Century STEM learning and workforce development. Learn more and download the whole copy at STEMConnector.org/100CEOs Follow the conversation on Twitter using #100STEMCEOs Today's CEO Leader is Stephen R. Howe, Jr.  of Ernst & Young
Stephen R. Howe, Jr. is Americas Managing Partner of Ernst & Young and Managing Partner of the U.S. Firm, Ernst & Young LLP. Steve is a member of the Americas Executive Board and Global Executive Board. He has been with the firm for over 30 years. Steve has served as audit partner for numerous global financial institution clients and as senior advisory partner on many of the firm's largest clients. Steve was previously Managing Partner of one of the firm's largest business units, the Financial Services Office, for six years before becoming Managing Partner for the U.S. and Americas. In the Americas, Ernst & Young operates in 30 countries through 11 geographic business units; all of them report to Steve. Steve also represents Ernst & Young in the Americas in maintaining regulatory relationships and as Executive Sponsor for inclusiveness. He regularly visits college campuses throughout the US, speaking to students about the profession.
 
Steve graduated from Colgate University with a BA in Mathematical Economics and from the Stern School at New York University with an MBA in Accounting and Finance. Steve is a member of the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Hall, the Board of Trustees of Colgate University, the Board of Trustees of the Financial Accounting Foundation, the Board of the Partnership for New York City and the Board of Governors of the Center for Audit Quality. 
 
Q&A
 
Beyond Standards, what are the first steps we should take to curb the STEM education crisis?
The STEM concentrations are those that emphasize analytical thinking. We need to support analytical thinking and its tie to economic growth throughout a robust K-12 curriculum, but we need to also strengthen the connection between classroom learning and the outside world. Volunteer engagement in our schools can make a huge difference. Every year, thousands of business people volunteer their time through not-for-profits like Junior Achievement and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, and by doing so, encourage students to build skills and embrace learning. We can also strengthen post-secondary STEM learning through the community college and university systems by supporting scholarships, internships, mentorships and auxiliary/support learning in those areas.
 
How do we encourage students to continue their study of STEM subjects, particularly women and underrepresented minorities?
Role models and mentors play an important role in encouraging women and under-represented minorities to continue their study of STEM subjects. This starts at young age; Cyberchase, the Emmy® award-winning PBS television series, helps build the math and problem-solving skills of children ages 8-11 and was specifically designed to engage girls and minorities. Ernst & Young professionals bring the Cyberchase concepts to life when they visit after-school programs and lead hands-on learning activities our US firm co-developed with the PBS. At the high school level, mentors, like those in our Ernst & Young College MAP (Mentoring for Access and Persistence) program offer exposure to career opportunities in STEM fields and serve as role models. 
 
How has your corporation coordinated investments in education with future workforce needs?
The Ernst & Young Foundation’s Academic Resource Center (ARC) has provided free university teaching materials for all collegiate level professors in topical areas that are important to public and private sectors. By bringing together academics and professionals to co-develop free, state-of-the-art curricula in topics important to the workforce but, perhaps unfamiliar to academics, we can help ensure graduates are as prepared as possible for the increasingly complex world they are entered. 
 
Another area where we have made a coordinated investment is our support for college access for disadvantaged youth, including our College MAP (Mentoring for Access and Persistence) program. Today, 30% of students in the bottom quartile of incomes enroll in a four-year school and among that group, fewer than half graduate. Helping these young people apply to college and prepare for success is critical to filling the current skills gap. 
 
What is your advice on using private-public partnerships to tackle our most pressing education challenges in STEM?
Our experience is that when each partner tackles the piece where it has a competitive advantage, the outcomes are more robust and participants are more satisfied. The corporate sector brings professionals with deep technical skills and volunteers with passion and energy; we also have the most recent market intelligence because that is where we spend our time. Universities have advantages with pedagogy and in understanding what students need in theory to get the most from their professional experiences. And government has the ability to set standards and the channels – through the millions of public schools across the US – to drive change on a large scale Understanding the demands on the time and pressures on all parties helps to make efficient and effective timelines and outcomes.
 
How is your company connecting diversity initiatives with STEM initiatives? Is this a part of your comprehensive strategy?
One strong point of connection between our STEM initiatives and our commitment to diversity is our inclusiveness recruiting strategy. We work very hard to build awareness of the profession and opportunities in stem. We fund High School Programs throughout the US where diverse students attend college for a week to learn about accounting careers. Through the EY Launch Internship program we’re able to encourage talented minority college students to pursue STEM careers by introducing them to the diverse opportunities available to them at Ernst & Young as early as the summer following freshman year. More than 210 students will serve as Launch Interns this year. 
 
Check Out Ernst & Young's Profile: http://stemconnector.org/ernst-young
 

The Gooru Corner: Simplifying Ratios

 
Flex your ratio-simplification muscles with this week's Gooru featured resource. Simplify the ratios as they appear on the screen to help the clownfish escape from the hungry shark lurking in the background. Miss to many questions and it's game over. 
 
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Gooru is a free search engine for learning developed by a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to honor the human right to education. Visit us at www.goorulearning.org.

 

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CityBridge Foundation’s Katherine Bradley, Kaplan CEO Andrew Rosen and Acting Deputy Secretary of Education Jim Shelton Added as Speakers for Capital E-xchange

 October 14-15 Conference at The Gallup Building in Washington, DC Will Be First Event for Capital-E, New Group Promoting Growth of Ed Tech-Related Activity in Region

September 16, 2013, Bethesda, MD – Katherine Bradley, President, CityBridge Foundation; Andrew Rosen, CEO, Kaplan Education; and Jim Shelton, Acting Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Education have been added to the lineup of speakers and panelists for the first Capital E-xchange, a conference for entrepreneurs, policymakers, educators and non-profits in the National Capital region to identify emerging education technology trends and form alliances.
 
Taking place Monday, October 14 and Tuesday, October 15, 2013, this EdTech focused event will be hosted by Gallup Education, at The Gallup Building at 901 F St. NW, in Washington, DC.
 
The announcement of new speakers and panelists was made today by Devin Schain, Chair of the Board of Advisors for Capital-E, a non-profit group promoting growth of education technology-related activity in the region, and organizer of the inaugural Capital E-xchange conference.
 
“Like Silicon Valley is to software development and Madison Ave. is to advertising, the Greater Washington, DC region – from Baltimore to Northern Virginia – is to education technology,” said Schain.  “Our newly added speakers underscore not only that this area an EdTech center, it is home to education policymakers, and non-profits working to effect positive educational change.”
 
Schain added: “To highlight the great efforts already underway and to support those to come, we have created Capital-E.  And to underscore why Capital-E will be a force for good, we present the first Capital E-xchange.  We’re grateful to Brandon Busteed and Gallup Education for serving as our host.  We believe that attendees will come away with renewed inspiration to tackle America’s educational challenges.  Similar to what has occurred in April in Arizona, we envision annual DC events where personal networks are expanded and partnerships are forged.”
 
Educational technology pioneers Michael Chasen, Co-founder of Blackboard; Aneesh Chopra, former U.S. Chief Technology Officer; Chris Hoehn-Saric, Co-founder and Senior Managing Director, Sterling Partners; and Michael Saylor, Chairman and CEO of MicroStrategy and trustee of The Saylor Foundation, were already among the top-notch group of speakers convening at Capital E-xchange.  Angel Cabrera, President, George Mason University will be interviewed by Jeff Selingo, Editor-at-Large, The Chronicle of Higher Education, media partner for the event.
 
More than 200 people are expected to attend the conference, with sign-up for $495 available at www.capital-e.org. Capital E-xchange sponsors include The Parthenon Group, CityBridge Foundation, Rocketship, and Hobsons  Additional speakers, panelists and sponsors will be announced.
 
CONTACT: James A. Boyle, Executive Director, Capital-E, jim@capital-e.org or 571-213-3979
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Discovery Education And 3M Announce 2013 Science Competition Winner

Discovery Education And 3M Announce 2013 Science Competition Winner (via PR Newswire)

-- Peyton Robertson was Awarded $25,000 and Named America's Top Young Scientist for his Innovative Sandbag Design -- -- Velocity Network's Chris Jacobs Served as Master of Ceremonies -- Download image Download image Peyton Robertson, 11, presents his…

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Winners Announced at Carnegie Science Center's Pittsburgh Regional Science Fair

Winners Announced at Carnegie Science Center's Pittsburgh Regional Science Fair

 
Mihir Tejas Garimella, an eighth grader at Dorseyville Middle School in Fox Chapel, won First Place in Engineering at the Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars), a prestigious national competition for middle school students.
 
Mihir and Emma Ashley Burnett, a seventh grader at The Ellis School in the Shadyside section of Pittsburgh, were among the competition’s 30 finalists. As finalists, they received an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, presented their projects as part of a four-day science fair, and toured the White House with President Barack Obama.
 
Broadcom MASTERS features top students nominated by local science fairs affiliated with the Society for Science and the Public. Mihir and Emma were among the nominees sent by Carnegie Science Center’s Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair (PRSEF).
 
“It’s very exciting to see this caliber of excellence emerging from our science fair,which has been getting kids excited about science for decades,” said Ron Baillie, co-director, Carnegie Science Center. “It’s really remarkable that two of the 30 national finalists are from a city the size of Pittsburgh.”
 
“The achievements of young people like Mihir and Emma are testaments to the terrific support they get from their parents and from the community,” said Ann Metzger, co-director of the Science Center.
 
Mihir’s project, ScentIt: Digitally Recreating Smells, won First Place in Engineering/Robotics at the Intermediate (middle school) level at PRSEF this past spring. This project stemmed from video calls with his grandparents in India, which let Mihir see—but not smell-- what he’s missing, like their garden. Mihir knew that smell triggers memories like no other sense and realized that computers involve vision, hearing, and touch—but not smell.
 
To explore ways of adding smells to make the digital experience richer, Mihir made a short movie in which specific scents are linked to particular moments. He began by creating a scent synthesizer—five microchip-based air fresheners, each linked to a microprocessor. To control the air fresheners, Mihir modified their circuitry so they would respond to signals from the microprocessor. He then programmed the microprocessor so it would interpret signals sent via computer. Mihir next built a library to build and send those instructions, then used the library to create a movie editor that would command scents to be released at precise points during his movie clip. For example, the device released a cinnamon scent during an ad for cinnamon rolls.
 
Emma’s project, Elements of Fluorescence, which involved examining samples of feldspar under natural and ultraviolet light and using a spectroscope to determine the elements within the minerals, won Second Place in Earth/Space/Environment at the Intermediate level at PRSEF.
 
In Washington, Mihir got to meet one of his idols – Eben Upton, the creator of the Raspberry Pi , a credit-card sized single board computer. Mihir
and his mentor Peter Pinko, a science teacher at Dorseyville Middle School, also had the honor of having a minor planet named after each of them (28715 Garimella and 28787 Peterpinko, respectively). To date, only 15,000 minor planets have been named after people – and those people include Pythagoras, Albert Einstein, and Thomas Edison.
 
In 2011, as a sixth grader, Mihir was honored with a Carnegie Science Award for the project he presented that year at PRSEF: a robotic violin tuner, which confirmed his hypothesis that the device was able to tune a violin more accurately than a person could. Mihir’s current career interest is robotics engineering.
 
PRSEF produced eight semi-finalists for the Broadcom MASTERS this year. The Broadcom MASTERS competition closely aligns with Carnegie Science Center’s dedication to and continued mission of encouraging young people to pursue education in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields.
 
Carnegie Science Center is dedicated to inspiring learning and curiosity by connecting science and technology with everyday life. By making science both relevant and fun, the Science Center’s goal is to increase science literacy in the region and motivate young people to seek careers in science and technology. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Science Center is Pittsburgh’s premier science exploration destination, reaching more than 700,000 people annually through its hands-on exhibits, camps, classes and off-site education programs.
 
Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1895, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is a collection of four distinctive museums dedicated to exploration through art and science: Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and the Andy Warhol Museum. Annually, the museums reach more than 1.2 million people through exhibitions, educational programs, outreach activities and special events.
 

 

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Today's CEO Leader in STEM: Hugh Grant of Monsanto

The100 CEO Leaders in STEM Blog Series features a new CEO Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st Century STEM learning and workforce development. Learn more and download the whole copy at STEMConnector.org/100CEOs Follow the conversation on Twitter using #100STEMCEOs Today's CEO Leader is Hugh Grant of Monsanto
Hugh Grant is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Monsanto, an agricultural company that applies innovation and technology to help farmers increase yields while conserving more water, soil, energy and other resources. 
 
Mr. Grant joined Monsanto as a product development representative in 1981. Since then he has served in a variety of product and management positions on three continents. He became Chairman, President and CEO in 2003; Brett Begemann assumed the role of President in 2012.
 
Under Mr. Grant’s leadership, Monsanto has developed and supported numerous programs to encourage the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, including the Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program, which provides fellowship opportunities to highly motivated individuals pursuing doctoral degrees in rice or wheat plant breeding. The scholars gain the leadership skills, education and tools needed to improve lives around the world by enhancing the future of rice and wheat production. 
 
Mr. Grant is recognized internationally as a leader in the fields of science, innovation and technology. He serves on the boards of trustees of both Washington University in St. Louis and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and on the board of commissioners of the St. Louis Science Center. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
 
Born in Larkhall, Scotland, Mr. Grant earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural zoology with honors at Glasgow University. He also earned a post-graduate degree in agriculture at Edinburgh University and a master’s of business administration at the International Management Centre in Buckingham, United Kingdom.
 
Q&A
 
Why do you believe STEM education and workforce development are critical to our nation's future?
As we look toward the future, our world faces serious challenges, including population growth, resource depletion and climate change. Confronting and overcoming these challenges will require bright minds and innovative ideas. Workers with skills in such fields as science, technology, engineering and math are essential to tackling these challenges and developing sustainable solutions for the future. These are exactly the types of employees the agriculture industry must attract to develop future generations of seeds, traits and products.
 
How do we encourage students, particularly women and underrepresented minorities, to continue their study of STEM subjects?
As early in life as possible, we need to introduce these students to the wide range of STEM education and career opportunities. That’s where programs such as Monsanto’s 1890 Student Leadership Program, which helps connect students at the Historically Black Land Grant Institutions with scholarship, internship and career opportunities in agriculture, science, engineering, technology and related fields. We also need to provide support, guidance and encouragement to help each student excel to his or her full potential. Many young women and underrepresented minorities are interested in STEM fields, but they simply don’t see a personal pathway to higher education or a career in these disciplines. It’s our job to show young people that a rewarding STEM career is within reach.
 
How has your corporation coordinated investments in education with future workforce needs?
Monsanto’s workforce needs and our investments in STEM education are directly linked. As we look toward the future, recruiting and retaining high-quality STEM workers are among our most critical priorities. That’s why we have chosen to invest in programs and initiatives tied directly to education in these fields. Examples of these investments include our partnerships with groups such as 4-H and the National FFA Organization, which expose young people to the broad range of career opportunities within agriculture. By investing in these organizations, we’re developing a pipeline to meet agriculture’s needs for STEM talent in the years to come. 
 
Which of your company’s STEM initiatives makes you the most proud?
Developing future generations of agriculture and scientific professionals is a proud part of our Monsanto heritage. Monsanto has a rich history of supporting education, especially in STEM fields, through innovative programs and investments. One example is our Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program. We founded this program in 2009 to honor the legacy of Dr. Henry Beachell and Dr. Norman Borlaug, two groundbreaking scholars in the field of plant breeding, and to nurture future plant scientists in developing countries. The scholars focus their research on two critical food-security crops, rice and wheat. This program provides generous support to students with tremendous potential and helps develop a pipeline of new talent not only for Monsanto but also for agriculture in general.
 
What is your advice to those involved in promoting STEM education?
As business and civic leaders, educators and policymakers, we all must understand that time is of the essence. We must come together to bring more young people – and especially women and underrepresented minorities – into agriculture, plant science and other STEM fields, and we must do so now. Within agriculture specifically, the challenges of population growth and food security will continue to become more pressing, and new ideas and innovations are key. This is an issue that demands our urgent action. 
 
How is your company connecting diversity initiatives with STEM initiatives? Is this a part of your comprehensive strategy?
At Monsanto, we see recruiting for STEM talent and recruiting for diversity as two sides of the same coin. Recruiting the best and brightest minds means that we must actively seek out talent from diverse backgrounds, regions, experiences and academic disciplines. For that reason, we have made diversity a cornerstone of our recruitment and development strategies. We strive be a company where ideas flow freely and diversity thrives. That’s the only way we’ll successfully tackle the global challenges we face.
 
How should those working to improve the STEM workforce measure success?
Success in this area is very clear: We need more young people, not fewer, choosing to study and work in STEM fields. We can track our progress by degrees, graduation rates or whatever metric you’d like. But the fundamental measure of our success will be whether companies can recruit and retain enough workers with the high-tech skills and abilities demanded by the careers of tomorrow.
 
Check Out Monsanto's Profile: stemconnector.org/monsanto
 

4-H National Youth Science Day to Feature the Power of Geospatial Technologies

4-H leads the way in generating youth excitement in science

Chevy Chase, Md. (Oct. 8, 2013) | Tomorrow, millions of young people across the nation will become geospatial scientists for the day during the sixth annual 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD). This event seeks to spark an early youth interest in science and future science careers, and to bolster the nation’s leadership position in scientific exploration. As part of 4-H NYSD on October 9th, youth will participate in the 2013 National Science Experiment: 4-H Maps & Apps.
 
Designed by Colorado State University Extension, 4-H Maps & Apps will introduce youth to the importance of geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS) as they use an important GIS technique called “layering” to map and design their ideal park.
 
The growing fields associated with GIS and GPS are driving demand for critical thinkers who can harness geospatial technology to examine how all things around us relate. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, GIS and GPS are ranked among the fastest growing occupational fields in the nation. 
 
4-H National Youth Science Day is the premier national rallying event for year-round 4-H science programming that reaches millions of young people each year. The event brings together youth from around the nation to complete a single, innovative science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) related activity in an effort to expose young people to exciting new science topics and ultimately drive STEM workforce development. 
 
Several hundred events are planned across the country at a variety of locations, including elementary and middle schools, colleges and universities, 4-H, youth, community, science centers, as well as National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland.    
 
“4-H National Youth Science Day will again bring science exploration to life for young people in fun and interactive ways,” said Donald T. Floyd, Jr., National 4-H Council president and CEO. “By providing proven out-of-school time science programming, like 4-H NYSD, youth are given the opportunity to solve real world problems in a hands-on way that will ensure their contributions to their communities today and their success as global leaders tomorrow.”
 
“Improving access to quality STEM education will strengthen the caliber of the U.S. workforce, drive economic growth, and keep the U.S. competitive,” according to a report prepared by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (April 2012). The report also emphasized the need for young people to have more access to hands-on activities. Youth with "more opportunities to engage in STEM-related activities such as science fairs, projects, and clubs, are more likely to go onto STEM careers and have accomplishments in STEM fields.”
 
New additions to the 2013 National Science Experiment include an online game and free App (via iTunes), so that young people can participate in a traditional way or by accessing an exciting online version of the activity.  
 
“We created this year’s experiment to inspire young people to be critical thinkers by embracing a technology that can help change and shape communities in innovative ways,” said Claire Dixon, regional extension specialist, Colorado State University Extension. “Ultimately, we hope that this experiment will motivate young people to stay engaged in science throughout their secondary education, through college and into a rewarding career.”
 
The 2013 4-H National Youth Science Day partners include Lockheed Martin, Philips, Toyota, the Motorola Solutions Foundation, John Deere, Donaldson Filtration, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). 
 
“Success in building the next generation of STEM workers depends on collaboration among industry, organizations, educators, policy makers and families,” said Emily Simone, Lockheed Martin Director of Community Relations. “Lockheed Martin is committed to working with 4-H to develop programs that educate and inspire tomorrow’s scientists, engineers and mathematicians.” 
 
To join the conversation on 4-H NYSD, follow National 4-H Council (@4H) on Twitter or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/4-H and use the hashtag #4HNYSD.
 
About 4-H National Youth Science Day  
For more than 100 years, 4-H has been at the forefront of teaching youth about science, engineering and technology. Created to combat a shortage of American young people pursuing science college majors and careers, 4-H National Youth Science Day seeks to spark an early youth interest and leadership in science. 
 
Currently, 4-H young people participate in more than five million projects in 4 H science, engineering and technology programming in topics as varied as robotics, rocketry, agricultural science, environmental science and alternative energy. For more information on 4-H NYSD, visit www.4-H.org/NYSD.
 
The 2013 National Science Experiment 4-H Maps & Apps kit is available for sale on the 4-H Mall website, www.4-HMall.org.
 
About 4-H
4-H, the largest youth development organization, is a community of seven million young people around the world learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In the U.S., 4-H programs are implemented by the 109 land grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System through their 3,100 local Extension offices across the country. Overseas, 4-H programs operate throughout more than 50 countries. 
Learn more about 4-H at www.4-H.org, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/4-H and Twitter at https://twitter.com/4H.
 
Media Contact:
Kate Caskin, 240-454-4025, kcaskin@fourhcouncil.edu.
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Today's CEO Leader in STEM: Steve Ballmer of Microsoft Corp.

The 100 CEO Leaders in STEM Blog Series features a new CEO Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st Century STEM learning and workforce development. Learn more and download the whole copy at STEMconnector.org/100CEOs. Follow the conversation on Twitter using #100STEMCEOs. Today's CEO Leader is Steve Ballmer of Microsoft Corp.

 

Steve Ballmer is CEO of Microsoft Corp., headquartered in Redmond, Washington. He joined Microsoft in 1980 and was the company’s first business manager. Before becoming CEO in 2000, his roles at Microsoft included senior vice president of sales and support, senior vice president of systems software, and vice president of marketing.

Ballmer and the company's business and technical leaders focus on delivering devices and services that people love and businesses need. Under his leadership, Microsoft has more than tripled revenue and doubled profits since 2000.

Ballmer was born in March 1956, and he grew up near Detroit, where his father worked as a manager at Ford Motor Co. Ballmer lived down the hall from fellow sophomore Bill Gates at Harvard University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics. He worked for two years at Procter & Gamble Co. as an assistant product manager and attended Stanford University Graduate School of Business before joining Microsoft.

Q&A

Why do you believe STEM Education/workforce development are critical to our nation's future?
As high-skilled jobs represent an increasing share of our country’s workforce and national output, investments in STEM education are critical for sustaining America’s ability to compete in the global economy. STEM education is also critical to helping young people overcome the opportunity divide, an increasing gap between those with the skills needed to compete and those who are left behind because they lack the education, skills and real world opportunities to succeed.

At our current rate, the United States will not even produce half of the computer science graduates needed to fill open computing positions. By investing in STEM education, we can sustain American competitiveness while ensuring students have the skills they need to succeed.

How do you believe STEM education can improve a nation's competitiveness?
STEM education is a win/win for a nation’s economic competitiveness. By further investing in STEM, the U.S. can help fuel innovation and economic growth. STEM jobs are among the fasted growing and highest paying occupational groups. Looking at where the global marketplace is right now and where we are headed, the imperative is simple: If we do not improve access and attainment in STEM, the U.S. will continue to fall behind other nations. For example, engineering degrees represented 4% of all Bachelor’s degrees awarded in the U.S. in 2009. In Asia, that figure was 19%, and in China, 31%. These trends must change in order to sustain U.S. competitiveness.

Beyond Standards, what are the first steps we should take to curb the STEM education crisis?
Beyond setting standards, the first step we should take to strengthen K-12 STEM education is to provide additional resources to recruit and train STEM teachers.

Next, the U.S. should broaden access to computer science courses in high school to ensure that all students have the opportunity to gain this foundational knowledge and explore careers in computing. Although computing occupations will comprise approximately half of all STEM jobs by the end of the decade, today fewer than 1 in 10 high schools in America offer computer science classes. In 2011, only 2,100 out of the nation’s 42,000 high schools offered an Advanced Placement (AP) computer science course, and AP computer science exams represented only 0.6% of all AP tests taken that year, down from 1.6% in 2000. By ensuring students have access to computer science, our nation can begin to address the opportunity divide and help ensure students have the skills needed to succeed.

Finally, we must address our national crises in college completion by helping students who start college to finish it faster while also expanding higher education capacity to produce more STEM degrees, with a particular focus on computer science. Through taking these steps, we can help young Americans overcome the opportunity divide to ensure they have the skills necessary to succeed.

How has your corporation coordinated investments in education with future workforce needs?
Last year, Microsoft was proud to launch YouthSpark, a companywide initiative designed to create opportunities for 300 hundred million youth around the world over the next three years. Through partnerships with governments, nonprofits and businesses, we aim to empower youth to imagine and realize their full potential by connecting them with greater education, employment, and entrepreneurship opportunities.

What do we need in the US to continue to be at the top of global innovation?
There are three key things the U.S. can do to maintain our edge as an innovative country. First, we need to continue to invest in human capital, particularly in STEM education, at the K-12 and higher education levels and through worker retraining. Second, we need to embrace a 21st century immigration framework that welcomes the best and the brightest from all over the world to build their businesses here. Finally, we need to coordinate our efforts, between government, industry, and the non-profit sector, as well as across industries.

What is your advice on using private-public partnerships to tackle our most pressing education challenges in STEM?
Microsoft is committed to facilitating public-private partnerships designed to increase educational opportunities and achievement. Through these partnerships we have learned that engaging key leaders, identifying mutually-beneficial goals, committing to a shared vision, and celebrating success along the way are keys to multi-sector partnership success. Microsoft remains a committed partner for progress, contributing strategic, long-term investments to provide more young people with the skills and opportunities necessary to succeed in STEM.

Check Out Microsoft Corp's Profile: http://stemconnector.org/Microsoft

This Week in The Gooru Corner: Introduction to Ratios

 
Let's revisit one of the foundational concepts of mathematics: ratios. Ratios are right up there with percentages and decimals as candidates for the position of "most immediately useful mathematical concept". This week in the Gooru corner we'll compare two numbers, and see what follows from that.
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Gooru is a free search engine for learning developed by a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to honor the human right to education. Visit us at www.goorulearning.org.
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