The grant will help establish and fund the Arizona STEM Knowledge Management System and the Helios STEM School Pilot initiative, through which selected sites will receive funding and technical support to integrate quality STEM education across multiple schools and districts and create a statewide system for capturing, organizing, measuring, and disseminating information. The initiative will enable SFAz, a public-private partnership, to expand the Arizona STEM Network, research and develop replicable STEM education models, integrate best practices across schools and districts, offer Web-based tools for implementing Common Core Standards, enhance data-driven decision making and measurements, and create opportunities for engaging the private sector.
Arizona students' scores on standardized science tests are among the lowest in the country. Launched earlier this year, the Arizona STEM Network provides a centralized infrastructure, tools, resources, and metrics to help educators, businesses, and donors improve educational outcomes for students in the state according to a five-year plan.
"We are forging an expanded path toward education improvement by developing an implementation plan and knowledge structure for educators that fills gaping holes in previous educational reform efforts," said SFAz president and CEO William Harris. "Useful tools and information, expert technical assistance, strategic connections between parents, students, schools, teachers, administrators, employers, and the community will take advantage of the things we know that work in the classroom to improve student achievement."