McCrory announces statewide STEM initiative with help from GSK

Gov. Pat McCrory
Gov. Pat McCrory

Gov. Pat McCrory joined GSK and North Carolina New Schools Tuesday to announce a major venture to advance STEM education in public education.

The initiative is called STEMAccelerator – Next Generation Learning for North Carolina. It will accelerate proven STEM education approaches and develop new ones, focused on transforming mathematics and science instruction.

“High quality STEM education is critical to North Carolina’s future prosperity,” McCrory said in a written release. “To address the gap in education and workforce needs, we must provide resources and support for teachers’ professional growth – especially in the critical areas of science and mathematics. The STEMAccelerator will help us meet one of my administration’s goals of transforming the teaching profession into a rewarding, long-term career.”

The STEMAccelerator will build on schools efforts to advance effective science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education with its partners in industry, K-12 education, and higher education.

GSK, a leading global healthcare company and long-time advocate of STEM education, is jumpstarting the initiative with a $1 million investment.

“For nearly a decade, GSK has partnered with NC New Schools to enhance and expand STEM education opportunities for North Carolina students across the state. GSK is committed to supporting the communities where we work and where we live. A major focus of that investment is devoted to expanding the local and national workforce in science, technology, engineering and math. We are proud to deepen this partnership as a founding investor in the STEMAccelerator,” said Jack Bailey, president, US Pharmaceuticals, GSK.

“Through critical public-private partnerships, North Carolina is a national leader in advancing STEM education,” said Tony Habit, president, NC New Schools. “The STEMAccelerator builds on that important progress and recognizes that a deep foundation in science and mathematics for all students is essential for our state’s competitive edge. To build that foundation, we must make professional learning and support for all teachers a top priority, especially in those content areas that are essential building blocks for success in STEM fields and professions.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, only five percent of U.S. workers are employed in fields related to science and engineering, yet they are responsible for more than half of the country’s sustained economic expansion.

The STEMAccelerator includes a phased approach, blending proven best practices with emerging innovation:

Phase 1 – Research and development: NC New Schools will bring together educators, higher education and industry partners to design new instructional programs focused on the emerging needs of the STEM economy. Co-development will ensure alignment between education and the workplace.
Phase 2 – Pilot: Newly developed programming will be piloted with a core group of educators to validate and refine the content and delivery methodology. Specific emphasis will be placed on developing a virtual delivery component to support rapid, low-cost scaling.
Phase 3 – Roll-out: Refined final programs will be scaled across North Carolina to deliver next generation learning for all students.

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