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 Reimagining STEM in San Diego County

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​We can all agree that San Diego County is pretty awesome. Granted, as the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE), we're a little biased. But it's undeniable that the county is especially cool for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

The county has global technology companies, world-class universities, internationally known research facilities, an ocean to the west, mountains and desert to the east, and a host of other resources. However, while the region is a hub for employees with an advanced degree in a STEM subject, our K-12 students are underperforming in math and science, according to national rankings.

Now, there is San Diego EcosySTEM, a partnership between the San Diego County Office of Education, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, and the San Diego Science Alliance, which now operates under the Fleet Science Center. San Diego EcosySTEM was one of 27 communities recognized in October to participate in the national STEM Ecosystems Initiative.

"San Diego EcosySTEM is an opportunity for San Diego County to make an investment in STEM as a priority for our students, our economy, and our future," said Christine Carrera, an Expanded Learning project specialist for the County Office.

According to the STEM Ecosystems Initiative, STEM learning ecosystems provide the framework for collaborations between organizations such as the County Office, the Fleet Science Center, and county school districts to partner with institutions of higher education and private industry, so that all students have access to STEM-rich learning environments.

"San Diego EcosySTEM will learn from positive collaborations such as 52 Weeks of Science in Barrio Logan or the Power of Discovery, and see how it can grow to be comprehensive for our county," said Kris Mooney, director of education at the Fleet Science Center.

The goal is to help more young people develop important skills and become passionate about STEM subjects in order to fill the number of high-quality jobs available locally.

SDCOE's Expanded Learning team has been participating in STEM work for several years, and its Regional 9 Technical Assistance Center​ has been recognized as a leader in promoting STEM, Carrera said.

The first San Diego EcosySTEM planning session is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 4 at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. Members of the public who are interested in being a part of this reimagined STEM learning in San Diego County should email sdecosystem@rhfleet.org