VC STEM remains focused on three areas of work: STEM Early Learning, STEM Expanded Learning and STEM Professional Learning. Action groups were formed to establish goals and create detailed plans to address these priorities. These focus areas align with work already begun by some regional partners who focus on STEM college and career pathways in high schools and others who address retention and graduation initiatives.
The VC STEM Network helps people and organizations recognize the expertise they can contribute to others, fosters the integration of offerings and helps to make intentional connections among participants in the network in order to make STEAM pathways coherent, visible and accessible. Network participants share insights and resources with one another as part of an ongoing, dynamic improvement process that strengthens STEM offerings and learning opportunities across time.
STEM Early Learning Action Group
The STEM Early Learning Action Group aims to spark children’s innate curiosity, nurture their sense of wonder and help them develop new knowledge reflected in and part of their daily lives through inquiry. We seek opportunities to provide teachers with opportunities to become confident contributors to an intergenerational STEM learning community and promote ongoing collaboration among all STEM educators (formal and informal including parents, caregivers, teachers, librarians, STEM professionals, and all adults willing to make STEM come alive for children).
Early STEM Learning Action Group Chair
Director of Early Care and Education, Child Development Resources
Program Resource Director, Child Development Inc.
STEM Early Learning Goals
- Build awareness and support (at all levels in education) for STEM teaching and learning that recognizes the need for flexible approaches to teaching, varying ways of fostering engagement and nurturing students’ interests.
- Ensure children have flexible learning environments that support exploration, inquiry and the development of foundational understandings of STEM.
- Give families and other community members the confidence and understanding of STEM concepts that enable them to be supportive and seek out appropriate resources to encourage student interests.
- Advocate for and generate resources needed to develop and sustain STEM learning opportunities for all children.
- Create a supportive and collaborative STEM learning community and promote ongoing communications and the sharing of educational resources within a network of STEM supporters.
STEM Expanded Learning Action Group
The STEM Expanded Learning Action Group works to ensure all students and their families (K through adult) are aware of and engaged in ongoing regional expanded learning opportunities outside of the school day and formal learning classroom (Ex: libraries, after-school programs, museums, summer learning, etc.). Opportunities promote growth mindsets and address learning across the entire education continuum (including, but not limited to learning aligned with the regional economy and workforce development needs).
STEM Expanded Learning Co-Chairs
Associate Director of STEM Educational Outreach, CSU Channel Islands
Director of Expanded Learning Services, Ventura County Office of Education
City Librarian, Ventura County Library System
STEM Expanded Learning Goals
- Promote inquiry based, experiential, and interdisciplinary STEM learning opportunities Note: Participants embrace an all-encompassing definition of STEM that includes, but is not limited to, interdisciplinary work involving science, technology, engineering, mathematics, the arts (STEAM), agriculture (STEAAM), and their integration with other disciplines.
- Expand year-round student participation in high quality STEM learning opportunities
- Connect student learning in and out of school in ways that help students identify and prepare for ‘real world’ STEM workforce opportunities
- Continuously engage the business community to inform shared understandings of regional economic and workforce development needs and the interactions with STEM education offerings.
- Create and facilitate partnerships and collaborations among stakeholders (business, educators, families) that build capacity to support high quality synergistic STEM teaching/learning practices and pathways.
STEM Professional Learning Action Group
The STEM Professional Learning Action Group strives to unite our community around STEM learning. Our mission is to create synergy among school, work, family, and community. We support and promote educators, learners, and leaders to be enthusiastic, motivated and competent in STEM teaching and learning.
Professional Learning Action Group Co-Chairs
Dr. Colleen Robertson
Superintendent, Somis Union School District
Dr. Phil Hampton
Professor of Chemistry and Interim Director of STEM Initiatives, CSU Channel Islands
Director, Ventura County STEM Network
Professional Learning Goals
- Define high quality STEM teaching and learning in the context of Ventura County.
- Develop criteria to recognize and honor STEM teaching and learning models in varied settings relevant to Ventura County.
- Disseminate what works and is worth doing in STEM teaching and learning.
- Promote an integrated approach with an emphasis on STEM processes and practices.
- Provide districts with models that demonstrate strategies for planning and delivering effective professional learning to a diverse ecosystem of informal and credentialed educators and leaders.
- Increase administrative capacity to lead in innovative times with an entrepreneurial mindset in an educational setting and ability to market “practices” for successful school systems.