MD Employers Join Forces to Give Caroline County Students Greater Chance for Workplace Success

Caroline County's two high schools - North Caroline High School and Colonel Richardson High School - have been identified as Maryland Business Roundtable for Education (MBRT) STEM Innovation Schools. These schools will have access to services and resources that transform the way schools and the workplace interact to strengthen student chances for success in college and careers.

Recent research shows the more students interact with workplace professionals throughout their education, the more they earn later in life. According to the study, students who recalled at least four school-mediated employer contacts between ages 14-19 earned 18% more three years out of high school than students who could not recall such interactions.

In an effort to ensure more students have at least four opportunities to interact with and benefit from the expertise and advice of workplace professionals, 49 Maryland high schools have been designated as STEM Innovation Schools, representing every Maryland school district. Teachers and students at these schools will have unlimited access to: hundreds of trained and enthusiatic workplace volunteers who will co-teach STEM lessons and motivate students to achieve; a wide range of high quality STEM resources aligned to Maryland state standards; and real-world challenges posed by industry professionals for students to participate in proposing solutions.

In partnership with Governor Martin O'Malley, State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lillian Lowery, and local school superintendents, MBRT developed Maryland's STEM Innovation Network (STEMnet) - an online platform that pulls together in one place the people, resources, tools, and services that teachers and students can access to strengthen teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

More than one thousand Maryland teachers participated in the development of STEMnet programs and resources - from defining the help they need most and identifying STEM concepts and practices that stymie students to reviewing and creating resources to ensure alignment with new standards.  As one teacher put it, "Our biggest challenge is identifying appropriate professionals who can help make relevant connections for our kids. I've been waiting my entire career for a resource like this."  Teachers at STEM Innovation Schools participate in training on how to use STEMnet resources to enhance STEM instruction.

"Our goal is to provide richer learning experiences, vibrant sources of information, and robust opportunities for students to apply learning to solve real-world problems," says June Streckfus, MBRT executive director. "Maryland is fortunate to have strong leadership, impactful teachers, stellar institutions of higher learning, generous corporate commitment, and a caring, willing community of parents and volunteers, all of whom want the best for our students and our state."

"This is an excellent opportunity for Caroline County Public Schools, as we are able to participate in a consortium of Maryland educators to promote college and career readiness for all students," said Milton Nagel, interim superintendent of Caroline County Public Schools.

North Caroline High School and Colonel Richardson HIgh school were recognized at MBRT's recent annual meeting as part of the state network of STEM Innovation Schools.