Atlanta STEAM Learning Ecosystem Selected to Join Global STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice
Friday, June 29th, 2018
The Atlanta STEAM Learning Ecosystem has been selected to join the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice, SLECOP, an initiative to improve education in science, technology, engineering and math. Atlanta STEAM Learning Ecosystem will now connect with 67 other Ecosystems across the country and internationally.
Students must have quality, applicable STEM education to enable them to thrive in today’s world. Atlanta STEAM Learning Ecosystem’s work is grounded in an understanding that jobs in STEM careers are growing rapidly and that the national average wage for STEM-related occupations is nearly double that of non-STEM careers.
STEM Learning Ecosystems builds strong collaborations in schools and beyond—in afterschool and summer programs, at home, with local business and industry partners, and in science centers, libraries and other places. Ecosystems strive to enable students to connect what they learn at home, in school and out-of-school with real-world opportunities.
Atlanta is one of twelve Ecosystems being added to the global initiative. Benefits to joining the SLECOP include:
Atlanta STEAM Learning Ecosystem will be provided with professional support to build and strengthen lasting, impactful collaboration among local organizations. This work requires a big picture perspective that is sometimes hard for individual partners to see. The SLECOP will help guide productive cooperation among local leaders in education, business, afterschool programs and more – all focused on best possible outcomes for students.
Atlanta STEAM Learning Ecosystem will be able to learn from the collective experiences of other STEM Learning Ecosystem communities that are thriving across continents through a international community of practice network.
“We’re pleased to welcome Atlanta STEAM Learning Ecosystem to our community of practice. The Ecosystem was selected to join the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice because its local partners have already demonstrated a deep commitment for STEM learning across multiple platforms,” said SLECOP co-founder Gerald Solomon, executive director of the Samueli Foundation.
Ron Ottinger, co-founder of the SLECOP and executive director of STEM Next Opportunity Fund added, “We were impressed with Atlanta STEAM Learning Ecosystem’s commitment to serving those from under-represented populations.”
Jan Morrison, president and CEO of TIES, which provides support to the SLECOP communities, said the four-year-old initiative is credited with changing how millions of students learn and dramatically altering how educators teach STEM. “Our team is eager to develop partnership and learning objectives that are relevant for the local area.”
“Atlanta’s marketplace is unique, verses other cities, in that it has several STEM organizations already positively impacting the area,” said Errika Moore, Executive Director of TAG Education Collaborative. “STEM Learning Ecosystems provides design thinking and infrastructure support that can help us create synergy and tailored STEAM learning opportunities for our specific needs and the diverse landscape of organizations here in Atlanta. While leveraging the experiences of other alliances across the world.”
Members of the new Atlanta STEAM Learning Ecosystem include: TAG Education Collaborative (TAG-Ed), re:image/ATL, Goodie Nation, SEM Link, Education and Sports Performance Academy (ESPA) and Saving Our Sons & Sisters International (SOSSI).
“Atlanta is known for developing critical thinkers focused on creating social change,” says Goodie Nation Founder and CEO, Joey Womack. “I'm extremely proud of the emerging leaders that answered the call to get more of their peers into STEM-related activities, and I can't wait to see their amazing ideas. This is a crucial early step into bringing together many parts of the area's STEM ecosystem.”
Susanna Spiccia, Founder and Executive Director of re:imagine/ATL states, “As a community based nonprofit with limited capacity, its sometimes difficult to make time to tackle the larger issues facing Atlanta's youth outside of our direct work. As part of the core team for the Atlanta STEAM Learning Ecosystem we have been able to make the space to further unify and amplify existing stakeholders who, like us, want to see a better future for Atlanta's youth. We are excited to share our knowledge and connections working towards a collective vision for our city.”
Atlanta STEAM Learning Ecosystem has also targeted Atlanta Public Schools, Marietta City Schools, Decatur City Schools, Cobb County Schools, Clayton County Schools, DeKalb County Schools, Fulton County Schools and Gwinnett County Schools.
Atlanta STEAM Learning Ecosystem hosted its first event on Saturday, June 9 at the Loudermilk Center with event sponsor United Way of Greater Atlanta. The highlight of the event was a six-hour ideation lab where students came up with creative ideas to provide opportunities for friends and classmates interested in STEM. Hip-hop music was used to create an amazing high-energy environment for leveraging insight, perspective and reality to bring these ideas to fruition. Atlanta STEAM Learning Ecosystem will continue to make innovation related career pathways cool to students from underrepresented groups in STEM while preparing future innovators, breakthrough thinkers, and leaders for their communities.
Atlanta STEAM Learning Ecosystem enjoys tremendous support and leadership from the Arthur Blank Foundation who has a vision to unite and create synergy within the Atlanta STEAM community.
Additionally, Atlanta STEAM Learning Ecosystem would like to thank and will continue to engage the following local stakeholders who supported the application process as we move to combine STEAM efforts throughout the Atlanta Metro area: United Way, Learn4Life, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Atlanta Science Festival, CEISMC, Georgia Tech, The Corporate Volunteerism Council, Gas South, Turner, Atlanta City Councilman Andre Dickens and Georgia House Assembly Representative Dar’Shun Kendrick.