STEM education is more than simply teaching; it is about engaging.
STEM encourages students to foster creativity, problem-solve, analyze, participate in teams, and practice critical thinking and effective communication. These 21st century skills will help students excel as a part of the future workforce and in their everyday lives. Spokane STEM education interlaces a variety of learning groups including Spokane's earliest learners, our robust K-12 programs, and our strong higher education institutions. We strive to create meaningful experiences to enhance STEM learning from Pre-K through higher education by connecting opportunities for students and educators - creating a more vibrant future for our students, for our economy, and for the success of our education institutions.
STEM in Early Learning
We help ensure students’ success for a better future.
Students are prepared to thrive in a STEM economy through receiving continuous outreach during their educational years. Students are reached out to before they reach kindergarten, and continue to be promoted to about STEM learning through their postsecondary education.
Spokane is fortunate to have many active innovative programs in the local schools that are serving as templates for development and delivery of engaging project-based education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Providing students with a quality STEM education equips them to pursue careers in high-paying STEM fields (a STEM salary can be almost twice as much as non-STEM salaried jobs in Spokane).
Through targeted outreach to underrepresented populations, including women (who fill only 25 percent of STEM jobs) and minorities (who fill only 10 percent of STEM jobs despite being over 25 percent of the population in Washington), we ensure that all students have a better opportunity for success.
By promoting hands-on, work-based experiences, we get students excited about learning, a passion that will stay with them—and serve them—for the rest of their lives. It is important to create opportunities for students to explore and develop STEM skills even if they don’t pursue a career in a STEM field. Spokane STEM promotes connections between college/university students and potential employers. Today, most jobs work with technology and data in some form: every student (and future employee) needs to have exposure to STEM and the opportunity to develop those skills.
We help raise awareness about STEM to garner support for STEM education.
The importance of STEM for our young people, our economy and our community needs to be highlighted in numerous areas. Spokane STEM does just that - we are a liaison to support innovative programs in the community, at schools and at colleges and universities in our region. This includes raising money for significant projects benefitting the whole community, connecting one or more partners with common goals to apply for funding, and serving as a watchdog for state and federal funding as well as private grants that will impact our goals.
STEM in K-12
We connect teachers and schools with resources.
Educators can exchange ideas and best practices through the Spokane STEM Network. They can access the latest thinking on instructional models, innovative strategies, and teaching tools. Connecting educators to professional development opportunities is essential to build a thriving economy.
Schools can also get connected with businesses and community organizations through Spokane STEM to enhance their students’ curriculum through lectures, tours, and hands-on, work-based learning experiences. This introduces students to the realities of working in a STEM field and begins a relationship with future employers. It also presents teachers and faculty to experiences that can be applied in classrooms and labs.
We advocate for policy issues to ensure our schools, colleges, and universities have a statewide voice.
It is important to advocate for issues on behalf of education and teachers/faculty at both the state and federal levels. Educators are to be kept informed of the latest developments in STEM fields and legislation. Both public and private support for innovative STEM policymaking are advocated for in our region. Spokane STEM's advocacy work achieves support for statewide change in STEM programs for early learning and K-12. For example, an advisory panel for Washington STEM is set, and Spokane STEM helped pass professional development standard definition, as well as K-12 computer science programs.
Involvement from business professionals and the community helps connect students with knowledge and opportunities to work with professionals to solve real-world problems.
STEM in Higher Education
We help to ensure that the supply of graduates from postsecondary institutions with degrees and credentials in STEM fields is critical to our state’s future success.
Spokane is in a region with tremendous higher education assets. Within the Spokane County resides a public comprehensive four-year university: Eastern Washington University, two private four-year institutions: Whitworth University and Gonzaga University, two two-year community colleges: Spokane Falls Community College and Spokane Community College, three private technical colleges: ITT Technical Institute, Carrington College, and Interface College, and a higher education center with significant assets from Washington State University, Eastern Washington University, the Community Colleges of Spokane, and Whitworth University. Additionally, within about 60 air miles of Spokane and 85 road miles reside two comprehensive research universities: Washington State University and the University of Idaho. Finally, North Idaho College is located nearby in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
The estimated total enrollment at colleges and universities within 60 air miles (85 road miles) of Spokane is approximately 76,000 students. In 2011, these institutions produced 19,252 graduates. Overall, the degrees in STEM majors only included 23% of certificates, 17% of associate’s degrees, 26% of bachelor’s degrees.
For an entire listing of the STEM enrichment programs offered through our local schools, please visit our STEM Experiences asset map.
Please visit our Partners page to view the local school districts and higher eduation institutions who have made a commitment to incorporate STEM disciplines through programs and curriculum.