NBC LEARN to Bring Learning Resources to Missouri Schools

NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News, announced today a partnership with Missouri-based, k12itc, that will make its digital learning resources available to K-12 schools across Missouri. This innovative collaboration provides fee-based subscription access to NBC’s award-winning resources to elementary, middle and high students, as well as their teachers and parents, beginning with the 2012-2013 school year.


NBC Learn K-12 provides access to over 14,000 NBC News archival video resources that help bring subjects to life in the classroom. Each video is mapped to curriculum, state standards, and The Common Core, and the database is updated with current events on a daily basis. A subscription to NBC Learn K-12 allows all teachers, students, and their parents to access the resource at school and at home with 24-hour customer support. NBC Learn is also compatible with the iPad so that users can access resources on the go. As part of the partnership with k12itc, NBC Learn K-12 will also provide product and professional development training for teachers and administrators.


“NBC Learn is thrilled to support these students and teachers with engaging and informative resources that help distill complicated educational concepts into real life examples,” said Soraya Gage, General Manager of NBC Learn. “This partnership with k12itc highlights the opportunities that exist for innovation in the education space and we hope to continue to build more of these relationships across the country.”


“k2itc is excited to partner with NBC Learn. This new partnership will provide our clients with an innovative tool to enhance online and collaborative learning,” said Brad Sandt, President, k12itc.


“NBC Learn is a great instructional resource that can be placed in the hands of all students and all teachers,” said Dr. Dennis Fisher, Retired Superintendent of Park Hill School District. “This product will truly bring 21st Century Learning into Missouri school districts.”


In addition to its subscription resources, NBC Learn also produces original video collections that are made available for free on These include the Emmy Award-winning “Science of NFL Football,” and “Science of the Winter Olympic Games” collections, “the newly launched “Science of NHL Hockey” series, as well as “Changing Planet” and “Chemistry Now.” For more on NBC Learn, visit


Rally offers kids a new look at math, science ... and life


Oct 19, 2012 -- For just a moment, before going out to quarterback her Lego robot as only she can, 12-year-old Ja'lyn Lewis imagined the children like her who were missing.


Children of color.

Children in urban schools, where many come from low-income families.

If only more children could get the same spark that has charged her with dreams of engineering and science, she said.

"You can help us think in a different way," she said. "You can help us look at life and science in a new way." Ja'lyn and her schoolmates on the Benjamin Banneker Charter Academy of Technology robotics team were one of several school groups showing off their projects in science, technology, engineering and math Thursday at the STEM UP Kansas City rally at Union Station.


There she was, a star, with classmates urging her to the controls to put her robot on display.


But there was an urgent message in why organizers of the event -- the KC STEM Alliance and Time Warner Cable -- made sure the Banneker team was part of the showcase.


The award-winning robotics team didn't exist for any Banneker students ahead of Ja'lyn's fifth-grade class a year ago.


That was before William Wells became the school's technology director and finally gave Banneker someone to take on the role of robotics coach.


That was before his wife, Courtney Wells, a Hewlett-Packard program manager, won a $5,000 prize in Time Warner's Connect a Million Minds education support program to help launch Banneker's team.


Ja'lyn knows she is lucky. Her father and mother helped prod her interest in technology since she was 6, she said.


She timed it right too, coming of age for the Lego robotics competition just as Banneker, after several years of failed starts, got its program going.


"I want to go to Princeton or Harvard and learn IT (information technology)," she said. "Some people think we're too young to know things, but I hope not." The STEM UP rally kicked off a renewed recruiting campaign to link more individuals and businesses with schools to help mentor students and support STEM programs.


More than 15,000 students in the area are participating in the national engineering program, Project Lead the Way, said Laura Loyacono of the KC STEM Alliance. Many of them are among the thousands in robotics competitions and other special programs.


But all schools need more mentors and supporters for the expensive programs in fields where technology is constantly racing ahead of them.


The programs in particular have trouble reaching "underserved" populations predominantly in rural areas and the central cities, she said.


The call for help doesn't just go out to people in STEM careers.


The Black Family Technology Awareness Association in Kansas City not only recruits STEM professionals, but reaches out to all parents and community members.


The organization has been holding training sessions for parents to get them past their fears so they can learn right along with their children.


"We need all kinds of volunteers," said George Walker, an AT&T technician who leads the technology awareness association. "We tell parents from the beginning we want them involved." Walker's wife, Mildred, who did not have a technology background, took the message to heart and now coaches an all-girls robotics team after school at the W.E.B. DuBois Learning Center.


"I jumped in," she said. "I got help when I needed it." When community members and parents take deeper interest in the STEM programs, schools are more likely to find ways to keep the programs alive and growing.


"If it drops, it is missed," Loyacono said. "And industry shows up" to support programs in need.


Before he began coaching Banneker's robotics team, William Wells went to the FIRST Robotics international championships in St. Louis in 2011 and saw what was possible.


The sight was thrilling and sobering.


Along with the thousands of U.S. students, he saw students "from Israel, Qatar, Turkey, China and Japan," he said.


They were working together across language barriers, in the spirit of a competition that encourages collaboration and the sharing of resources and ideas.


"It was world peace out there," he said.


But it was also sad, he added.


"I saw few inner-city kids." Over his shoulder, Banneker students guided their robots through their paces, including Ja'lyn, whose chief influences include scientist Isaac Newton and contemporary girl band Mindless Behavior.


Wells was thinking not just of her and the rest of Banneker's students but of those children who weren't here but could be when he said, "You know, they're bright kids."



Ranken Technical College Receives NSF Grant to Expand Engineering Education

ST. LOUIS, MO., October 10, 2012 – Ranken Technical College has been awarded a $430,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to initiate a unique program to promote and attract more students into the College’s engineering-related technical degree programs. 

The goal of the grant, entitled: “E3 - An Engineering Education Expansion Project” is to expand the talent pool in the St. Louis area by attracting high school students into the growth areas of electrical and mechanical engineering design. 

 “Ranken is excited to receive our third award from the NSF, said Stan Shoun, president.  It will assist the College in promoting and matriculating students into our design and engineering curriculum to help meet a growing demand for highly-trained technical workers in energy, manufacturing, construction and other industries. Engineering-related fields such as electrical and mechanical design are in high demand right now.  Ranken is responding in numerous ways to meet that growth through our E3 Engineering Education Project and other initiatives.”

The five-year grant will also be used to expand enrollment in three existing engineering-related programs:

·         Control Systems Technology

·         Electrical Automation Technology

·         Electrical Systems Design Technology

 The project has a goal of increasing enrollment by 10% in the three existing programs (+185 students).  It also has a goal to attract 115 students in the new Mechanical Engineering Design Technology program for a combined total of 300 students enrolled during the 5 years of the project.  

 Some of the objectives of the E3 program are:

·         Engage high school students and help them learn more about careers in engineering and other STEM related fields that provide meaningful and well-paying careers through a specialized magazine and website.

·         Help inform high school teachers and guidance counselors of the many STEM-related technical career fields and provide them with hands on experience and with materials to integrate into their classroom curriculum to encourage students in STEM related careers. 

·         Provide assistance to overcome both economic and informational barriers in the college application process.

·         Create accelerated and clear pathways into college through dual enrollment and a specialized developmental summer learning academy. 

·         Provide an optimal environment for academic success through existing and planned programs that include a superior academic support system, sufficient scholarship assistance, and on-the-job internship/training opportunities through an innovative on campus micro-enterprise work based learning program.

·         Assist graduates with exceptional career job placement upon graduation due to a long standing relationship between the College and over 150 industry partners. 

The College currently has two other NSF grants to help develop a highly skilled workforce for the St. Louis region including a $600,000 STEM scholarship grant and a $900,000 Advanced Technological Education project grant.  All three grants are intended to bolster and strengthen enrollment in fields relating to science, technology, engineering and math.



S&T to host lecture on women in science and engineering

Dr. Amy Bix, associate professor of history at Iowa State University, will present a lecture about the history of women in science and engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology on Oct. 1.

The lecture will be held at 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, in Room 120 Butler-Carlton Civil Engineering Hall. It is free and open to the public.

In her lecture, titled A Woman Invaded the Guard of St. Patrick: Gendered Histories of American Engineering Education, 1876 To Today, Bix will discuss how, when, and why women began studying engineering at American colleges and universities.

"For decades, women in engineering programs stood out due to their rarity, even more than in science," Bix says. "In many places, formal barriers maintained engineering as a male-only preserve."

Well-illustrated with photographs, cartoons and other material, this presentation offers case-studies of how engineering coeducation developed at state land-grant institutions before and during World War II and at schools such as Georgia Tech, Caltech and MIT.

"This evolution of engineering coeducation illustrates the long history of questions surrounding gender and technical work, vital questions that still resonate in today's engineering world," Bix says.

Bix, who is also director of ISU's Center for Historical Studies of Technology and Science, is the author of Inventing Ourselves Out of Jobs? America's Debate Over Technological Unemployment, 1929-1981. She has published work on the history of breast cancer and AIDS research, eugenics, alternative medicine, home-tool use and post-World War II physics and engineering. She has also written about the history of women aviators, physicians and home economists, plus gender and the body in Islamic culture. She is currently finishing a book titled "Girls Coming to Tech! An Institutional, Intellectual, and Social History of Engineering Education for American Women."

The Oct. 1 lecture is part of a year-long project at Missouri S&T called Beyond Arithmetic, which will explore the complexities of women in science and engineering and the gendered relationships their presence has brought into focus throughout history.

A second lecture is planned later this fall. Dr. Marie Hicks, assistant professor of history at Illinois Institute of Technology, will speak about women in computing at 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9. Another lecture and a panel discussion with alumnae and scholars in history, science and engineering fields are planned in the spring.

"Because women had, for decades, been removed from the histories of science and engineering, many times being downgraded or simply forgotten, in the 1970s historians started 'adding' them back in," says Dr. Jeff Schramm, associate professor of history and political science at Missouri S&T and co-organizer of the Beyond Arithmetic program.

"In doing so, however, they continued to use the same timelines, cycles of history, and life-cycle analyses that had been used for men," says Dr. Kathleen Sheppard, assistant professor of history and political science at Missouri S&T and co-organizer of the Beyond Arithmetic program. "By shifting to examining history using issues that women would have to deal with, historians can ask new questions, for example, what does having children do to a woman's career historically? How would historical events flow differently because of this? This approach even highlights understudied, but important, events in the history of women as human beings and as professionals."

Beyond Arithmetic is co-sponsored by Schramm and Sheppard in cooperation with Cecilia Elmore, director of student diversity, outreach and women's programs at Missouri S&T and an S&T graduate, and Jerri Arnold-Cook, director of leadership and cultural programs at Missouri S&T.

For more information about the lecture or the Beyond Arithmetic series, contact Schramm at or Sheppard at


AT&T gives STEM grants in KC


AT&T on Tuesday announced grants of $100,000 each to the Urban League of Greater Kansas City and to Donnelly College to help encourage careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

The gifts are part of AT&T’s Aspire initiative, designed to reduce the high school dropout rate and promote STEM jobs. Since 2008, the company has pledged more than $100 million toward the program.

The two new grants, revealed at a robotics display at Hickman Mills Junion High School in Kansas City, are part of a $250 million, five-year expension of the Aspire program.




2012 STEMtech conference scheduled
The STEMtech conference is an international convening that emphasizes increasing student success in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at all levels. Over 400 sessions focus on improving STEM education, better aligning educational systems with each other and local workforce needs, and exploring technology's role in the teaching and learning processes.
College and university faculty members, K-12 teachers, administrators, government officials, community and business/industry representatives, and others involved in STEM education and information technology are invited to explore research, best practices, and other ideas with their colleagues from across the country and around the world.
Join us October 28-31 in Kansas City, MO, for this unique and enlightening experience. Click here to register.
Highlighted for the 2012 STEMtech conference are sessions about implementing STEM education in a manner that reflects the interdependence of STEM subjects, as well as sessions about partnerships involving school districts, community colleges, four-year institutions, and business and industry to provide a comprehensive community-based approach to STEM education.
Sessions at the 2012 STEMtech conference are presented in the following tracks:
- Health and Science
- Energy, Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability
- Mathematics, Engineering, and Architecture
- Manufacturing, Industry, Agriculture, and Aerospace
- Technology, Multimedia, and Telecommunications
- Recruiting, Retaining, and Transitioning Students Into STEM Programs
-  The Integration of STEM and the Liberal Arts
- Technology Systems and Applications
- E-Learning Resources




Camdenton High School receives Project Lead the Way certification


Camdenton High School (CHS) announced that it has received national certification for its Project Lead The Way (PLTW) program. This is the second time the school has gone through the national certification process to validate its program. PLTW, a nonprofit organization and the nation’s leading provider of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education programs, offers a rigorous curriculum that allows students to apply what they are learning in math and science class to real-life engineering and technology projects. PLTW’s curriculum also prides itself on expertly trained teachers and community and university partnerships to give students the fullest experience.


The national PLTW recognition program distinguishes schools for successfully demonstrating a commitment to PLTW’s national standards. Additionally, certification as a PLTW school provides students with the opportunity to apply for college credit or receive college-level recognition at PLTW affiliate universities when they successfully complete select PLTW courses in high school. PLTW has more than 40 affiliate college and university partners.


In order to remain competitive in the global economy, America needs approximately 400,000 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) college graduates annually, according to a National Business Roundtable report. Currently, the U.S. is graduating only 265,000 annually. PLTW is providing students with the skills, foundation, and proven path to college and career success in STEM areas to increase the number of STEM graduates.


Brett Thompson principal said, “We’ve seen how the PLTW program draws more students to engineering and technology courses and gets them thinking about college and their careers. We are extremely proud to be PLTW certified and ecstatic that our students are eligible for college-level recognition, which may include college credit for select PLTW courses, scholarships and admissions preference.”


As part of the recognition process, Thompson, and a team composed of teachers, staff, students, and members of the community submitted a self-assessment of the school’s implementation of PLTW’s Pathway To Engineering (PTE) program. A site visit by a PLTW trained team followed. PLTW’s team met with teachers, school administrators, counselors, students, and members of the school’s Partnership Team. A PLTW school’s Partnership Team (sometimes referred to as an Advisory Council) is comprised of teachers, counselors, administrators, post-secondary representatives, business and industry professionals, and other community members who actively support the PLTW program within a school.


“CHS should be congratulated for demonstrating once again its commitment to PLTW’s quality standards,” said PLTW CEO Vince Bertram. “The real winners here, however, are CHS’s students. Students benefit from PLTW’s innovative, project-based curriculum that encourages creativity, problem solving, and critical thinking. We look forward to many more years of working together to prepare CHS students to become the most innovative and productive in the world.”


For more information on PLTW, you may also contact Jennifer Cahill at the national office at (317) 669-0871 or



Educators to Share Strategies that Increase Student Success in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics


Educators, information technology leaders, and others will gather at the League for Innovation in the Community College’s 2012 STEMtech conference, October 28-31, in Kansas City, Missouri, to discuss how to increase student success in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at all levels, and to explore technology's role in the teaching and learning processes. Faculty members, administrators, government officials, community and business/industry representatives, and others involved in STEM education and information technology will explore research, best practices, and other ideas with their colleagues from around the world.


“In addition to bringing participants from around the world to explore STEM education, the 2012 STEMtech conference provides a special opportunity to showcase Kansas City-area partnerships that support STEM education,” said Laura Loyacono, Executive Director of the Kansas City STEM Alliance. “We are proud and excited to be part of an event that brings together such a wide variety of community representatives to explore STEM experiences that prepare students for 21st century careers.”


According to Gerardo E. de los Santos, President and CEO of the League, the number of presentation proposals received for this year’s conference increased more than 150 percent over last year. “This demonstrates profound interest in sharing and learning strategies for getting more students into STEM-related programs and careers," said de los Santos. "At the same time, campus technology leaders will have the opportunity to demonstrate and discover best practices in educational technology systems and applications, and e-learning resources.”


New for the 2012 STEMtech conference is a track titled The Integration of STEM and the Liberal Arts. The new track focuses on effective methods and techniques for integrating STEM education into humanities and liberal, fine, language, and physical arts coursework, as well as research into the impact of interdisciplinary approaches to STEM education. “The key question of the 21st century is how do we connect the arts, humanities, and STEM to produce contemporary classical education . . . preserving the best of the past, yet embracing the technological processes of the future?” said IDEAS Orlando’s Jim Brazell, keynote speaker this fall for the newly added track. “If critical thinking, technological literacy, applied career skills, and educated citizens are the goals of common core standards, then alignment and integration of STEM concepts and strategies to general education curriculum is fundamental."


The League for Innovation in the Community College is an international organization dedicated to providing support for professional and organizational development at community colleges. The organization hosts conferences and institutes, develops web resources, conducts research, produces publications, provides services, and leads projects and initiatives with its member colleges, corporate partners, and other agencies in its continuing effort to make a positive difference for students and communities.


Learn more about the 2012 STEMtech conference at


For additional information about the 2012 STEMtech conference, or to schedule an interview, contact Ed Leach at (480) 705-8200 x233 or




National Science Foundation hosts veterans' STEM think tank through UMKC

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently sponsored Transition STEM -- a veterans' STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education think tank -- through UMKC. The invitation-only event convened national leaders to help veterans with service-connected disabilities transition into post-secondary science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.


NSF chose to sponsor this conference through UMKC because of the university's commitment to educating veterans in STEM. Hosting the event were the UMKC Institute for Human Development andSchool of Computing and Engineering, as well as their NSF-funded program -- "Building an Alliance for New Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (KC-BANCS): A Collaborative Model for the Inclusion of Youth and Veterans with Disabilities".

Military Times EDGE magazine ranks UMKC as one of the 101 best colleges for veterans. The magazine based its rankings on financial assistance, academic flexibility, campus culture and support services.

Examples of UMKC's commitment to veterans include the Student Veterans Virtual Resource Center;UMKC Student Veterans OrganizationSchool of Computing and Engineering and Institute for Human Development programs, such as KC-BANCS; SCE's membership in the Society of American Military Engineers -- Greater Kansas City Post; Doctor of Pharmacy Satellite ProgramsYellow Ribbon Program; and the processing of Missouri Returning Heroes awards.


State Releases New “Hot Jobs” Report, Prospects for “STEM” Careers Highlighted

New information is now available for Missourians looking for which jobs will be “hot” this decade. The report shows that youth and adults with an interest – and skills – in science, technology, engineering, and math have many bright prospects in Missouri.

The “Missouri’s Hot Jobs” report suggests which occupations are most likely to be in demand through 2018, according to the Missouri Economic Research Information Center (MERIC). The report is available online at and


Its release is timely, state officials said, as the first week of March is now designated by the governor as a time to promote the importance of careers and education related to science, technology, engineering, and math, or “STEM” for short.


“With 86 STEM occupations identified in Missouri, 51 are on the new ‘Hot Jobs’ report,” said Dr. Marty Romitti, MERIC director. “That should give students, parents and adult jobseekers even more reason to take the time to explore the many excellent and diverse career opportunities available in the STEM fields.”


To be rated “hot,” an occupation must be growing, have numerous openings and offer better-than-average wages according to MERIC, which partnered with the Missouri Department of Education to create the report.


Wage data for Missouri occupations also place STEM occupations in a favorable light. While the average wage of all Missouri occupations is $38,849, the average wages of STEM occupations are much higher: $66,584 for math-intensive occupations; $69,816 for engineering-intensive; $72,407 for technology-intensive; and $104,844 for science-intensive.


Missouri Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro noted that providing high-quality, comprehensive STEM experiences is central to Missouri’s educational reform plans and will affect teachers, students, public schools and other institutions.


“Given the projections concerning the importance of STEM careers to the future economy, schools have a responsibility to provide education and training solid in STEM and to help students explore these growing fields,” Nicastro said. “Students must not only be prepared to compete for jobs in Missouri; they must be able to compete in the global community.”

Missouri is approaching STEM content as a curriculum priority. One key objective is to increase the number of minority and female students graduating from high school with a concentration in STEM-related coursework.


“Our goal of helping all students become college- and career-ready will require a focus on rigorous, STEM-related courses and activities,” Nicastro said.


Getting students excited about STEM careers is not just good for the future of individual students but also for the future of Missouri, said Byron Keelin, executive director of the Missouri METS Coalition.  The coalition is a non-profit organization formed in 2006 to foster communication and awareness with government, business and community leaders on the importance of STEM education for a prosperous and globally-competitive workforce.


“The people involved in the economic development of this state realize there is enormous opportunity for growth in the STEM fields,” Keelin said, explaining the purpose of STEM or METS Week. "That is why Missouri is prioritizing the advancement of STEM training and education. It’s a matter of developing our workforce to attract quality employers to this state.”