UNITED WAY INITIATIVE SELECTED TO JOIN GLOBAL STEM LEARNING ECOSYSTEMS COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE (SLECoP) -
Wins Support to Build Connections Among Local Schools, Businesses,
The Greater Bridgeport STEM Learning Ecosystem, an initiative of Bridgeport Prospers/United Way of Coastal Fairfield County, has just been selected to join the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice, SLECoP. In a highly competitive process, the Greater Bridgeport STEM Ecosystem was named one of 15 new ecosystems selected to join the global movement devoted to dramatic improvement in how students learn.
STEM Learning Ecosystems build meaningful regional connections among educators, business and industry partners, afterschool and summer programs, to prepare students for the opportunities and challenges of the future. Each ecosystem connects to counterparts from across the country and world, enabling the exchange of best practices, information and resource-sharing.
The 15 ecosystems joining the SLECoP today bring the number to 85 total, with most in the United States but also extending to Canada, Mexico, Israel and Kenya. New ecosystems to join the SLECoP range from the entire states of Iowa, Texas, South Carolina and West Virginia to regions like Biloxi, MS, Broward County, FL, Central Massachusetts and Lincoln, NE.
“This was an incredibly competitive process, and we were only able to admit ecosystems who would be capable of making immediate contributions to our thriving community of practice,” said Jan Morrison, president and founding partner of TIES, the organization that operates the SLECoP. “The ecosystems that we selected now have pulled together diverse partners who no longer accept the status quo in education; they want to see all students access high quality STEM education that will prepare them for life and work in the next century.”
Forming STEM ecosystems was listed as the No. 1 priority for STEM education in a December 2018 report by the Federal Office of Science and Technology Policy.
“Greater Bridgeport is making terrific strides to offer the recommended rich, meaningful STEM education and experiences to our youth,” said Gwendolyn Brantley, Youth Innovation Specialist at Bridgeport Prospers, and the Lead of the Greater Bridgeport Ecosystem. “As a recognized STEM Learning Ecosystem, we can tailor quality STEM learning opportunities to our specific needs in Bridgeport, while leveraging the experiences of similar alliances across the world.”
Early goals for Bridgeport include aligning the many local learning opportunities and fostering relationships between industry and educational partners. Some of the specific first steps will be:
Community Asset Mapping and enrolling Bridgeport students grades 7th-12th in Tallo, a connection tool to bring students, colleges, scholarship opportunities and companies together (https://www.tallo.com/). Also, the Bridgeport team will be developing a website to serve as a hub of STEM-related events and resources for children, parents, and educators.
The new Greater Bridgeport STEM Learning Ecosystem includes members from a range of sectors:
Education sector: Bridgeport Public School System, Housatonic Community College, and the University of Bridgeport.
Business and Civic representatives: PSEG, Sikorsky, A Lockheed Martin Company, Unilever, Hampford Research, Bridgeport Regional Business Council, Pryceless Consulting, The National Society of Black Engineers, CT-FANS Professionals, New Haven Metropolitan Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, and The Fairfield County Chapter of The Links Inc.
Non-profit and youth-serving participants: ACCESS Education Services, Bridgeport Prospers/United Way of Coastal Fairfield County, Junior Achievement, Discovery Museum, Urban Impact, Cardinal Sheehan Center, Bridgeport Caribe Youth Leaders, Bridgeport Youth Lacrosse Club, City of Bridgeport Lighthouse Programs and City Council President, Aidee Nieves, Bridgeport Public Education Fund, The Village Initiative Project, The WorkPlace, INROADS, and Dunbar School Family Resource Center.
A community event announcing the new ecosystem to the Greater Bridgeport area is being planned for summer. The event will offer the public additional information and opportunities for participation.
Support in Bridgeport is provided by Bridgeport Prospers, a collective impact movement devoted to changing outcomes for all children, from cradle to career. It is a member of StriveTogether, a national nonprofit working to bring communities together around data to make decisions and improve results for kids. Bridgeport Prospers is an initiative of the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County, a leading catalyst for social change.
Bridgeport Prospers mission is to work collectively as a community of stakeholders to have a positive, measureable, and sustainable impact on outcomes for all children and families, from cradle to career. We focus on a set of seven common outcomes, from healthy and ready at three and kindergarten readiness, to high school graduation and career readiness. The initiative receives backbone support from the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County. Find out more at http://www.unitedwaycfc.org/bridgeportprospers
The STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice, SLECoP, is a global initiative of innovators who know that thriving communities are built through collaboration and a willingness to reimagine education and provide opportunities to those commonly neglected.
The SLECoP was built on the fundamental belief that learning happens everywhere, not just in traditional classrooms. Consequently, ecosystems are made up of partners representing K-12 public and private education, business and industry, after-school providers, non-profits, STEM-rich institutions, government and philanthropy.
Learn more about the national initiative at stemecosystems.org. Address specific questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Join online conversations on Twitter @STEMecosystems and #STEMecosystems and on Facebook and LinkedIn.
United Way of Coastal Fairfield County
United Way of Coastal Fairfield County’s mission is: “Together, we mobilize our communities to improve people’s lives.” Our vision is that all children in Coastal Fairfield County are successful in school and prepared for success in life. UWCFC serves the towns of Bridgeport, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton. Find out more at http://www.unitedwaycfc.org
StriveTogether is a national movement with a clear purpose: help every child succeed in school and in life from cradle to career, regardless of race, zip code or circumstance. In partnership with nearly 70 communities across the country, StriveTogether provides resources, best practices and processes to give every child every chance for success. The StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network reaches 10.5 million students, involves 10,800 organizations and has partners in 30 states and Washington D.C.