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Skagit STEM Network expands to NW Washington STEM Network

By September 1, 2020Community

Skagit STEM Network is expanding be a catalyst for STEM education and Career Connected Learning in Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom counties.

Thanks to the interest and support of educators, business leaders and community organizations throughout Northwest Washington, the Skagit STEM Network is expanding.

“The new NW Washington STEM Network will work to be a catalyst for STEM education and Career Connected Learning in Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom counties,” said Michelle Judson, NW Washington STEM Director. “To support this expanded role, our new backbone agency will be the Northwest Educational Service District 189 that supports all K-12 school districts in those counties. We will continue to be part of Washington STEM’s Network of partners that harness and employ STEM education best practices within their communities.”

Judson noted that the current Skagit STEM Network will continue under the NW Washington STEM organizational umbrella with its own Advisory Board comprised of Skagit business, education and government leaders. Shaun Doffing will continue in his role as Program Manager.

“We are excited to host and support the NW Washington STEM Network,” said Larry Francois, Superintendent, Northwest Educational Service District 189. “We see this as a natural and beneficial extension of our existing career connecting learning and professional development work with school districts and community and business partners across Skagit, Whatcom, Island, and San Juan counties.”

“To grow capacity, we are fostering the creation of new partners, such as the Whatcom STEM,” Judson said. “This new structure will also help to build even stronger partnership with local and regional organizations whose mission are aligned with ours such as FuturesNW who help prepare students from high school through their transition into their college or training programs.”

“We are currently in the planning process to develop Whatcom STEM and we look forward to partnering with NW Washington STEM to increase STEM education access, interest, and career opportunities for all students in our Northwest Washington communities,” said Michael Gan, Executive Director, Technology Alliance Group for Northwest Washington (TAGNW). “With Whatcom STEM, TAGNW expands our post-secondary programs to include PreK-12 education and broaden community partnerships to support STEM disciplines and Career Connected Learning in accordance with our mission to Engage, Inspire, and Thrive.”

The Skagit STEM Network formed late in 2015 through the efforts of the Sedro-Woolley School District and City of Sedro-Woolley. The goal was to create a process to align K-12 education, higher education, community, and business partners to support STEM and Career Connected Learning opportunities in Skagit County.

“Today, we work with all Skagit school districts, involve stakeholders throughout the county, and our programs impact over a thousand students annually,” said Shaun Doffing, Program Manager, Skagit STEM Network. “Through efforts such as STEM Like Me!, Spotlight on Women in STEM and other events, we’ve been a catalyst in efforts to advance student access to science, technology, engineering, and math education and career opportunities throughout Skagit County.”

STEM education opens doors for every student to succeed. And it allows all students to DREAM BIG.

STEM education is an interdisciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons as students apply Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). It also integrates language arts, computer science, social science, and the arts in a way that make connections between school, community, work, and the global enterprise. The research is clear: A strong cradle to career STEM education prepares students for high-demand jobs and contributes to the vitality of their families, communities, and local economies. This includes classroom learning, community and family-based learning, and career connected learning in and out of classrooms.

“We are passionate about helping every student succeed in the 21st Century.” Judson said. “Along with our partner organizations and stakeholders, our goal is to serve as a model for innovative thinking and action.”

For further information or to get involved, please visit www.nwwashingtonstem.org/.

About NW Washington STEM
As a part of the Washington STEM Network, the NW Washington Network is a catalyst that brings STEM education and career connected learning programs to NW Washington students, especially those historically underrepresented in STEM fields like students of color, girls and young women, students living in poverty, and students living in rural areas. Our STEM Network creates a coordinated effort with planning partners and local stakeholder organizations in Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom counties to serve as a catalyst for initiatives, leveraging resources and programs and building community. The Network is a part of Washington STEM and operates from the Northwest Educational Service District 189.