February 27, 2020 – Lake Ariel, PA. Elizabeth Watson, Principal of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics of Western Wayne School District has been accepted as one of 28 ambassadors in the Pennsylvania STEM Ambassador Program, which aims to shape the future of STEM education in the commonwealth by targeting vital policy conversations to legislative leadership in the areas of STEM Learning ecosystems, computer science, state and federal policy for formal and informal education, and workforce needs.
PA STEM Ambassadors met for an inaugural training session today at the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) to receive advocacy training from state and national leaders in the field.
The Western Wayne School District, through the creation of Ms. Watson’s position, have prioritized the creation of sound STEM curriculum in grades Pre-K-12 in an attempt to best prepare their students for both future academic and career success. The district intends to focus on STEM as a cross-curricular instructional practice in grades PreK through five and through industry aligned credentials and career pathways in grades 6 through 12.
Representing leaders and emerging leaders in corporate, PreK-12 and higher education, and afterschool programs from 18 counties, PA STEM Ambassadors have agreed to invest the next nine months in training and policy development to share expertise and content knowledge with influential stakeholders to help develop a stronger voice in shaping STEM education policy issues.
“Pennsylvania is considered a leader in STEM policy across the country and, in order to maintain that, we need to develop leaders across the state to advocate for bipartisan support in advancing STEM Education policies to affect change,” said Laura Saccente, director of the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN). “PA STEM Ambassadors have been vital part in shaping STEM education and workforce policies, such as PAsmart and the landscape of STEM Learning Ecosystems.”
“PreK-12 Education is a service industry where we work to prepare our students for what comes next for them, both academically and otherwise. The heart of STEM education is creating a system where student academic programs are directly correlated to where they are going after graduation, particularly in the direction of the most available and lucrative careers that exist in tomorrow’s career market,” Elizabeth Watson, principal of STEAM.
PSAYDN collaborated with the Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC), the national STEM Education Coalition, the Afterschool Alliance, 2018 National STEM Ambassador Jeff Remington and staff from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and Pennsylvania Department of Labor to provide training support to the ambassadors. This year, STEM Ambassadors will have an option of a leadership track as well.
Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) promotes sustainable, high-quality out-of-school time youth development programs through advocacy and capacity building to enhance the welfare of Pennsylvania’s children, youth and families. PSAYDN believes all children and youth deserve access to programs that encourage positive youth development and support the successful transition to adulthood. PSAYDN is managed by the Center for Schools and Communities. More information is available at www.PSAYDN.org.