Gateways to STEM Education

Free Online Event: Gateways to STEM Education

Education Week offers you a big-picture look at how states, districts, and schools can overcome the obstacles that prevent more students from succeeding in STEM as they progress through school.

In this virtual event, Education Week journalists and guests will staff online "discussion" rooms on a host of topics, including the challenge of providing strong early STEM experiences, controversies over high school math tracking, and the ongoing challenge of implementing new science standards.

Join them on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, from 1 to 3 p.m. ET, for a deep dive into STEM education in your schools. This Online Summit provides you a unique opportunity to directly interact with reporters and STEM practitioners and experts and to watch a livestreamed series of interviews after the chat to synthesize core themes.

Thank you to those who joined us for this event, which took place on Oct. 23, 2018. Below, you can watch the reporter wrap-up we streamed at the end of the event.


Oct. 23, 2018
1-3 p.m. ET*

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Event Video

STEM: In Conversation With Education Week

  • 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET | #GatewaysToSTEM
    Room 1: Rethinking Math Remediation
    Moderator: Catherine Gewertz, Senior Contributing Writer, Education Week
    Guest: Diane J. Briars, Past President, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
    ‣ Math is a notorious stumbling block that trips up students seeking college degrees. Join Education Week reporter Catherine Gewertz for a discussion of how high schools and colleges are working together to redesign math courses to help students succeed in college math.

    Room 2: Teaching Early-Grades Science
    Moderator: Madeline Will, Staff Writer, Education Week
    Guests: Christine Anne Royce, President of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA); Julie Neidhardt, Lead Science Teacher at Hutchens Elementary School, Mobile, Ala.; Shameka Williams, Project-Based Learning Coach, Charles R. Drew Charter School, Atlanta
    ‣ Young children are sponges for the kind of information taught in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics classes. But inquiry-based, hands-on STEM instruction is rare in elementary grades, experts say. Elementary teachers often lack the proper training to engage their young students in STEM. Join Education Week’s teacher-policy reporter Madeline Will for a discussion on the benefits and barriers to high-quality STEM instruction in elementary school.

    Room 3: New Science Standards, New Curriculum?
    Moderator: Liana Loewus, Assisting Managing Editor, Education Week
    Guests: Peter McLaren, Executive Director, Next Gen Education, LLC; David Upegui, Science Teacher, Central Falls High School, R.I., and Adjunct Professor of Biology, University of Rhode Island’s college of education
    ‣ The Next Generation Science Standards debuted in 2013, and about 20 states have adopted them. The standards ask students to think—and act—like scientists. But have textbooks, curriculum materials, and tests caught up yet? Editor Liana Loewus helps you to make sense of a still-emerging implementation landscape.

    Room 4: The Link Between STEM and Careers
    Moderator: Benjamin Herold, Staff Writer, Education Week
    Guests: Jacey Cavanagh, Founder and Principal, Tiber Strategies LLC; Christopher Daniel, STEM Teacher, Woodward Park Middle School, Columbus, Ohio
    ‣ Businesses and industry groups want to make sure entering recruits have the skills they’ll need, and they’re increasingly becoming involved in STEM education efforts. Ed-tech reporter Ben Herold looks at specific efforts in advanced manufacturing, as well as the trend in general to align K-12 science and math programming with workforce needs.

    Room 5: Detracking Math Classes
    Moderator: Stephen Sawchuk, Associate Editor, Education Week
    Guest: Angela Torres, Math Content Specialist, San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD)
    ‣ Student tracking in math begins as early as middle school. But the San Francisco Unified School District has made a bold decision to end tracking. In the city, students of various abilities all take algebra and geometry together. (Later, they can choose to go on to advanced math.) Curriculum reporter Stephen Sawchuk takes your questions on the plan, the research on algebra and tracking, and how the district is aligning teaching and curriculum.

    Room 6: Move Over, Calculus. Stats Is on the Rise
    Moderator: Sarah D. Sparks, Assistant Editor, Education Week
    Guest: Connie Richardson, Manager, Higher Education Course Programs, The Charles A. Dana Center, University of Texas at Austin
    ‣ For years, Calculus has formed the capstone of the math sequence in high school, especially for entrance into elite colleges. But now, scholars say that the class is exacerbating achievement gaps and isn’t strongly linked to future performance in the field. Is statistics—and the ability to make sense of large sets of data—a better choice for some students? Research reporter Sarah Sparks walks you through the burgeoning debate.

  • 2:30–3:00 p.m. ET | Final Reporter Wrap-up
    STEM: In Conversation With Education Week
    Led by the reporters, the Education Week newsroom will close out the day with insights from the discussions they’ve had with you, the readers.

Guests, Speakers, and Moderators

Diane J. Briars
Past President
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Briars is a mathematics education consultant, working primarily to support schools and districts in their interpretation and implementation of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. She has also been a senior developer and research associate on the Intensified Algebra Project, a joint venture of the Learning Science Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin. This project, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, focuses on developing instructional materials for underprepared ninth-grade Algebra 1 students. Previously, Briars was mathematics director for Pittsburgh Public Schools. Under her leadership, Pittsburgh schools made significant progress in increasing student achievement through standards-based curricula, instruction, and assessment.

Diane Briars is a past president of the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) and has served in leadership roles in various other national organizations, including the College Board and the National Science Foundation. She has served on numerous national committees and advisory boards, including the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century, headed by Senator John Glenn.

Jacey Cavanagh
Founder and Principal
Tiber Strategies LLC

Cavanagh is the national manager for MakerMinded, a student STEM competition that is an initiative of Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, a Manufacturing USA Institute. She works with startups, nonprofits, businesses, and other groups working on issues related to STEM education, workforce development, and the skills gap.

Christopher Daniel
STEM Teacher
Woodward Park Middle School, Columbus, Ohio

Daniel served in the United States Army directly out of high school and in the Army National Guard during college. He always wanted to become a teacher but didn't know what type. Fast forward several years and after teaching every core subject, he currently works as a STEM educator in Columbus City Schools, in Ohio, teaching his passion: computer science, pre-engineering and robotics.

Catherine Gewertz
Senior Contributing Writer
Education Week

Gewertz is a reporter covering assessment and pathways from the middle grades to high school and beyond. Since joining Education Week in 1999, she has been the lead common-core reporter and has covered urban schools. Previously, Gewertz was a staff writer at United Press International and The Los Angeles Times.

Benjamin Herold
Staff Writer
Education Week

Herold is a reporter covering educational technology for Education Week. He joined Education Week in 2013. Previously, Herold covered the Philadelphia school district for WHYY public radio station and the Philadelphia Public School Notebook. He has won awards as the nation's top education beat reporter and for his feature reporting on the city's mass school closings. He has previously worked as a policy researcher, an independent documentary filmmaker, and a training specialist for rape-crisis and domestic-violence-prevention organizations.

Liana Loewus
Assistant Managing Editor
Education Week

Loewus is an assistant managing editor for Education Week who oversees coverage of the teaching profession. Since joining Education Week in 2010, she has covered curriculum, instruction, state standards, and teacher policy issues as a reporter, and served as the associate editor for Education Week Teacher. Previously, she worked as a health-care reporter and an editor for a website on learning disabilities. Loewus also spent several years as an elementary special education teacher and a reading specialist.

Peter McLaren
Executive Director
Next Gen Education, LLC

McLaren consults with states and districts in support of the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards and other three-dimensional state science standards. In his previous work, he served in a number of roles pertaining to science education policy, including as the director of state and district support for science at Achieve, a science and technology specialist at the Rhode Island Department of Education, and president of the Council of State Science Supervisors (from July 2010 until April 2013). McLaren also served as a member of the national writing committee for the NGSS, the National Academy of Engineering's Guiding Implementation of K-12 Engineering Education committee, and the National Academy of Science’s committee for developing assessments for the NGSS.

Julie Neidhardt
Lead Science Teacher
Hutchens Elementary School, Mobile, Ala.

Neidhardt is the lead science teacher at Hutchens Elementary School in Mobile, Ala., where she established the N.E.S.T.—Nurturing Engineering Science and Technology. The NEST is a science lab for all pre-K-2 students, as well as a coaching model for teachers, where Neidhardt models hands-on, inquiry-based lessons. Neidhardt, who has been teaching in public elementary schools for 20 years, is a National Board-certified teacher and a 2017 STEM Ambassador for the National Science Teachers Association and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Connie Richardson
Manager, Higher Education Course Programs
Charles A. Dana Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Richardson leads the curriculum development team for the mathematics courses for the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways (formerly the New Mathways Project), an initiative to modernize entry-level college mathematics programs through working with states, universities, and colleges. She also supports the development of DCMP’s professional learning offerings related to curricular redesign, co-requisite supports, and pedagogy. In this work, Richardson collaborates with faculty to identify best practices and disseminate to the field.

Christine Anne Royce
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)

Royce is the president of the National Science Teachers Association and a professor in the teacher education department at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. She is also the co-director for the Master of Arts in Teaching in STEM Education program at the university. Royce began her career in education as a 2nd grade teacher and has also taught math and science at the middle and high school levels.

Stephen Sawchuk
Associate Editor
Education Week

Sawchuk covers curriculum and instruction, with a focus on the Common Core State Standards, literacy, social studies, and STEM. A veteran education reporter with 10 years' experience writing about K-12 education, Sawchuk formerly covered the teaching profession for Education Week. He joined the newspaper in 2008 and was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan from 2016-17.

Sarah D. Sparks
Assistant Editor
Education Week

Sparks is a reporter for Education Week who has covered education research and the science of learning for more than a decade. Sarah joined Education Week in 2010, and has published on education and other issues in Education Daily, the Republican-American, the Wall Street Journal, National Geographic Traveler, and others.

Angela Torres
Math Content Specialist
San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD)

Torres is a high school math teacher who taught for 10 years in California, including 5 years at Mission High School in SFUSD, and internationally in Colombia. She has been a content specialist since 2012 and currently manages the SFUSD Complex Instruction Program. Torres collaborates with colleagues across SFUSD to support rich math learning experiences for all of our students.

David Upegui
Science Teacher
Central Falls High School, Central Falls, R.I.; Adjunct Professor of Biology
University of Rhode Island’s college of education

Upegui is a science teacher at his alma mater, Central Falls High School, and has served as an adjunct professor of biology at the University of Rhode Island’s (URI) college of education. He is currently a doctoral student at URI. He was selected as a state finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in 2015 and 2017. He was the recipient of the National Association of Biology Teachers’ Evolution Education Award, Rhode Island College Alumni Honor Roll Award, National Science Teachers Association Shell Science Lab Challenge, Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence, Latino Public Radio: Outstanding Achievement, and Rhode Island Department of Education Golden Apple.

Madeline Will
Staff Writer
Education Week

Will is a reporter for Education Week who covers the teaching profession. She rejoined the staff in 2016 as the assistant editor for Education Week Teacher after previously interning at Education Week in 2014. In between, she worked as the publications fellow for the Student Press Law Center and interned at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Shameka Williams
Project-Based Learning Coach
Charles R. Drew Charter School, Atlanta

Williams is a project-based learning coach at Charles R. Drew Charter School in Atlanta, where she helps teachers develop innovative curricula. She is also the academic coordinator for the Horizons Program at Georgia Tech, a summer learning program dedicated to preventing the math and literacy summer slide through PBL and STEAM. Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in science education from Georgia State University. During her studies, she worked for the GSU Bio-Bus Program, where she designed and taught hands-on science modules to K-12 students in over 20 counties throughout Georgia. Recently, Williams was one of 30 educators from around the world to be selected into the second-ever cohort for the TED-Ed Innovative Educator Program. Through her Innovation Project, titled “Taking Project-Based Learning To The Next Level,” she will be working with a cohort of students to create the first ever “TED-Ed Projects.”

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