PITTSBURGH, Sept. 29, 2015 ― Carnegie Science Center is pleased to announce the 10 Allegheny County school districts selected as the 2015-16 cohort for the Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathway. These Pathway Partners will receive support as they navigate the Pathway through workshops at the Science Center, professional development opportunities, and Science on the Road programming at their schools. These schools and districts demonstrate a commitment to adopting best practices in STEM education and STEM leadership.

The 2015-16 cohort comprises:
Allegheny Valley School District
Avonworth School District
A.W. Beattie Career Center
Baldwin-Whitehall School District
Bethel Park School District
Elizabeth Forward School District
Montour School District
Plum Borough School District
Shaler Area School District
West Allegheny School District

Pathway Partners were selected for this cohort through a competitive process. Allegheny County schools/districts will have another opportunity to apply in Spring 2016 to be considered for the 2016-17 cohort.

The original 2014-15 cohort, which the Science Center continues to support, comprises:
Blackhawk School District
Burrell School District
Cornell School District
Environmental Charter School
Hampton Township School District
Kiski Area School District
Mount Lebanon School District
North Hills School District
Pittsburgh Public Schools
Propel Schools
South Fayette School District
Sto-Rox School District
Upper St. Clair School District
Yough School District

The Heinz Endowments provided $763,986 in funding to support the STEM Excellence Pathway and both cohorts of schools.

The result of a grassroots effort convened by Carnegie Science Center, the Pathway is a process of continuous improvement that provides guidance to diverse schools – both well-resourced and under-resourced -- on how best to address the challenge of strengthening their STEM programming. Each school district (or individual school) first evaluates itself on 20 criteria pertinent to quality STEM education and then develops a tailored strategy to identify and address specific self-defined goals, which are reinforced throughout the students’ experiences in the classroom and during out-of-school time. These strategies may include teacher professional development, curriculum planning, modification of existing operational practices, incorporation of career awareness, and an overall culture shift as it pertains to STEM education. To help achieve equity of access, the Pathway process overview, self-evaluation rubric, and prioritization and action planning tools are available at no cost on a website called STEMisphere (www.STEMisphere.org).

To date, the Pathway has attracted 180 participating schools or districts – or “Pathway Partners” – in 13 states and the District of Columbia, serving 2.6 million students. In Pennsylvania, there are 65 Pathway Partners. The Pathway is open to any school district in the nation with a drive to improve STEM education.

Among the Pathway Partners is a group of eight schools from West Virginia that hosted a workshop in Charleston last week presented by Carnegie Science Center senior STEM staff. Those eight schools are part of the STEM Network Schools initiative of The Education Alliance. The Science Center team worked with the districts to talk about STEM education, pinpoint priority areas for improvement, and to identify specific resources, challenges, and measures of success.

For more information, visit CarnegieScienceCenter.org/Pathway.

About Carnegie Science Center
Carnegie Science Center is dedicated to inspiring learning and curiosity by connecting science and technology with everyday life. By making science both relevant and fun, the Science Center’s goal is to increase science literacy in the region and motivate young people to seek careers in science and technology. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Science Center is Pittsburgh’s premier science exploration destination, reaching more than 700,000 people annually through its hands-on exhibits, camps, classes, and off-site education programs.

About Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh
Founded by Andrew Carnegie 120 years ago, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is a collection of four distinctive museums dedicated to exploration through art and science: Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum. The museums reach more than 1.3 million people a year through exhibitions, educational programs, outreach activities, and special events.

About The Heinz Endowments
The Heinz Endowments supports efforts to make southwestern Pennsylvania a premier place to live and work, a center for learning and educational excellence, and a region that embraces diversity and inclusion.