Log In

Reset Password

CCTI hosts CSL STEM meeting

The Carbon Schuylkill Luzerne STEM Ecosystem kick-started an education revolution on Thursday.

The goal was to connect the area's schools with at-home and extracurricular learning opportunities in the realms of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.The CSL Ecosystem set out to develop an education and professional network, and plan on future actions. The organization is one of only 10 communities selected for the second round of the STEM Community of Practice program. In attendance were administrators, SHINE group members, school supervisors and educators. The main goal focused on building a strong network for STEM education, from kindergarten classes to career programs and beyond."The mission of the CSL STEM Learning Ecosystem is to be the catalyst to build a strong collaborative effort among schools, businesses and community members resulting in a successful workforce through intentional STEM initiatives," reads the group's mission statement.Groups like the CSL Ecosystem are a creation of the STEM Funders Network. The Funders Network's mission is to join "schools, community settings such as after-school and summer programs, science centers and museums, and informal experiences at home and in a variety of environments that together constitute a rich array of learning opportunities for young people." The program goal is to create an educational pipeline between standard school education and out-of-classroom opportunities to expose more children to STEM."The core of the CSL Ecosystem is a grass roots effort to expose more young people and families to STEM principals and STEM learning, which we believe will create a stronger workforce in Carbon, Schuylkill and Luzerne counties," Jeanne Miller, owner of Miller Educational Services, said.Miller said the heart of the organization lies in SHINE, which launched through Lehigh Carbon Community College."Right now, SHINE has a kindergarten home visiting program, then you have first through fourth grade centers, the fifth through eighth grade centers, the high school mentoring program, you have college kids coming in and working, and then the relationship between after school and school programs. You create a pipeline."The CSL program seeks to reach students of all interests, hoping to build up interest in STEM careers that may not require traditional postsecondary education. Schools like CCTI are at the forefront of that initiative, with innovative courses and hands-on learning.Systems like zSpace, a setup that allows students to partake in virtual-reality based dissections, engine repairs, and more, play a huge part in stirring up interest."We need scientists, we need engineers, but we also need precision machinists, welders, computer-aid drafting," Miller said. "Right now, we're telling kids that they can get great jobs with associate degrees and certifications."This state is going to have workforce needs, and right now we're not going to meet those needs. We've got to get up to speed on what are those careers and what are the skills they need."Future goals for the ecosystem include exploring funding options, as well as looking into obtaining a mobile or stationary laboratory.Miller was pleased with the outcome of the meeting, which allowed the participants to build a basis for the ecosystem. Listing the grass roots strength of the area, with a strong network of K-12 and technical schools, went a long way toward establishing the group's unique identity.By developing a communication link between schools, businesses, and extracurricular programs, everyone is looking forward to changing the atmosphere of modern education."It's exciting to think that we're being identified as one of only 37 ecosystems in the United States, and we have the opportunity to take this, and strengthen it, and affect more kids and families, more school and educators," Miller said.

Jeanne Miller leads the CSL STEM meeting on Thursday at CCTI. The group seeks to revolutionize education systems revolving around science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. BRIAN MYSZKOWSKI/TIMES NEWS