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Oklahoman STEM Students, Teachers to Shine at National Summit

The best and brightest minds in science, technology, engineering and math will convene on Oct. 20-22 in Washington, D.C. at the 2010 National Innovation Summit, hosted by Project Lead the Way, Inc., to address the urgency of expanding STEM Education.

According to reports, U.S. students have been out-performed by students around the world in STEM fields.

“STEM education programs can reverse the student performance trends,” said Becki Foster, interim associate state director of Research, STEM and Innovative Initiatives at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. “Participants at the summit will learn new strategies for collaboration so more students will reach their full potential in the classroom.”

The summit will highlight STEM education projects presented by students and their teachers.

Two Oklahoma technology centers join only 24 schools invited from across the nation to participate in a PLTW student showcase. Oklahoma also boasts two of only five Innova Award winners and one of only 10 PLTW model school.

Project Lead the Way, Inc., a national, non-profit organization, is the leading provider of rigorous and innovative STEM education curricular programs used in K-12 schools. Originally designed to address the shortage of engineering students at the college level, it has grown to a network of approximately 4,000 middle and high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 350,000 students are participating in PLTW programs.

Tulsa Technology Center Pre-Engineering Academy and Red River Technology Center Biomedical Science Academy, Duncan, were invited to attend the summit because of their strong implementation models of PLTW programs. These schools will send two teachers and four students to the summit.

The 2010 PLTW Innova Awards honor some of the nation’s brightest students and most inspiring teachers involved in STEM education. The Innova Imagination Award is given to three students for their work on a brilliant STEM-related project. The project should demonstrate a high degree of critical thinking and imaginative problem solving.

Osceola Condulle, a student at McLoud High School and Gordon Cooper Technology Center in Shawnee, and  a NASA INSPIRE intern, is one of the national Innova Award recipients. He developed an "asteroid anchoring" concept that may be used in a future NASA mission. The project has strengthened his interest in the field of aerospace research. He plans to pursue a degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Oklahoma.

The Innova Learning Award is given to an educator for demonstrating an “innovative approach" to teaching and learning STEM education. The Innova Award for learning is awarded to one middle school teacher and one high school teacher.

Jackie Archer from Great Plains Technology Center, Lawton, received a national Innova Learning Award. GPTC has established a comprehensive STEM academy dedicated to attracting students to advanced placement science and mathematics courses combined with application to real-world occupational outcomes.

Tulsa Technology Center Pre-Engineering Academy is recognized as a 2010-2011 PLTW Model School.

“These schools embody a set of important characteristics, many of which are key elements of the quality and performance indicators outlined in PLTW’s National Certification application,” said Robin Schott, PLTW regional director of market development and relationships. “Many of these schools have developed a robust student recruitment strategy, which often features ongoing coverage of their program by the local media. These schools provide their students with the opportunity to work with local community members and businesses to solve meaningful problems.”

Oklahoma students will also be participating in several different events such as a VEX Robotics challenge. In addition, they will have the opportunity to highlight their programs.

Educators, policymakers, philanthropic organizations, industry executives, and private and public educators will be well- represented at the summit. These people are the driving force behind the STEM education movement in the U.S.

For more information about the Oklahoma CareerTech System, visit www.okcareertech.org.

-Written by: Liz Golliver

Publish Date: October 20, 2010

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