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*Special Edition*

Best of STEM in North Carolina for 2016

Please enjoy our compilation of some of the best stories in STEM education this year.


State budget to boost STEM in NC classrooms


The North Carolina General Assembly approved several adjustments to the preexisting state budget in July, and some of the education adjustments will bring more STEM into the classroom. The $22.3 billion plan adjusts the second year of the already-approved two-year budget. Also included in the amendments to the original budget are teacher raises. Public school teachers received approximately 4.7 percent salary increases, ranging from an additional $750 to $5,250, respectively.

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School grades, graduation rates up in North Carolina


In September, North Carolina released its latest school grades, showing how every public school in the state performed during the 2015-16 school year. North Carolina students continued to make gains on most measures, according to the school accountability data released on Sept. 1 by the State Board of Education, with more than 75 percent of public schools overall earning grades of C or better in the third year of the A through F grading system. Specifically, the annual report card showed an increase in the math and reading sections as well as science for the 2015-2016 school year. It also noted that the state's four-year high school cohort graduation rate, which factors into the letter grades given for high schools, continued its upward trend for the class of 2016, reaching a new high 85.8 percent.

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North Carolina receives first PISA ranking


North Carolina was one of only two states (along with Massachusetts) and Puerto Rico that elected to participate in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2015, and scores in science, reading and mathematics literacy show North Carolina is on track with the United States. This was the first time North Carolina participated in PISA.

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How will 'change' impact STEM education?


Change is an inevitable part of life. It happens whether we are ready or not. As the end of 2016 draws near, we now look ahead to a new year full of possibilities, full of opportunities, and yes, full of change. Businesses must change in one way or another to achieve/maintain success as well as stay competitive. Successful change requires a planned approach to make necessary changes, and leaders who are skilled in implementing those changes. Same holds true in education. This year we welcomed a new U.S. Secretary of Education and a new Superintendent of Public Instruction for North Carolina - two big changes for our state and nation going into 2017. It is too early to determine if the changes after November's general election are going to be bad or good for teachers, students and their families. But, one thing is certain - at some point, it was inevitable.

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Four North Carolina teachers receive PAEMST awards


Justin Osterstrom (science), Kayonna Pitchford (mathematics), Karen Newman (science), and Lauren Baucom (mathematics) were among 213 teachers nationwide recognized this year as recipients of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. PAEMST is awarded annually to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process at the state level. Winners of this honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. Congratulations to our four North Carolina recipients. You make us proud!

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IEI predicts disruptions in NC's workforce


How do North Carolina counties compare on vulnerability to the disruptions of technological unemployment and demographic change? North Carolina faces an enormous FutureWork challenge as two big trends converge: the "rise of robots" means automation will significantly change or eliminate more and more jobs; while our state's demography is shifting rapidly as we age, grow more diverse, and our workforce welcomes more women. The Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) released the FutureWork Disruption Index in February for North Carolina as a preamble to the 31st annual Emerging Issues Forum later in the month. The Index was designed to spark conversation and encourage serious attention to the urgency of the FutureWork challenge. We encourage you to click the link below for the full report and related resources.

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STEM luminaries honored for outstanding achievements


In April, the North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education (SMT) Center announced the recipients of the 2016 SMT Awards at the annual SMT Celebration in Cary. The SMT Celebration began in 2007 as a means to recognize the extraordinary efforts taking place in advancing STEM education across North Carolina. Please take a moment to honor this year's award recipients by visiting the SMT website.

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North Carolina adds seven STEM Schools of Distinction


The State Board of Education awarded seven schools as STEM Schools of Distinction for 2016. The schools were recognized in June based on their leadership, instruction, encouraging critical thinking, reasoning and teamwork. The schools recognized for "Model Level Achievement" also link STEM subjects with other courses such as Art, English, and History. Congratulations to this year's STEM Schools of Distinction!

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North Carolina New Schools closes its doors


NC New Schools, a nonprofit that helped coach teachers and principals at nearly 100 high schools in the state and received millions of dollars in funding for their work, abruptly shut down in the spring. In April, New Schools gave its 80 employees less than 24 hours notice that their jobs had evaporated and filed for bankruptcy, showing debts of $1.5 million more than its assets.

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Citizen Schools names new chief executive officer


Citizen Schools announced in February that Emily Buxton McCann would be the organization's new chief executive officer. McCann previously served as the company’s chief financial Officer, chief operating officer and president for the past 13 years. During her time at Citizen Schools, the organization tripled in size, growing from a small program in Boston to one that serves seven states – including North Carolina.

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Thank you for a great year! We're excited for what's the come in 2017.
Happy Holidays!

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