Gov. Wolf Celebrates Success of PAsmart Investment in STEM Learning for 3,000 Preschool Students
November 22, 2019
Whitehall, PA – Governor Tom Wolf joined state and local leaders today to celebrate the success of a $400,000 PAsmart grant that is providing math and science education to 3,000 preschool students in western Pennsylvania. The governor visited the students at Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s Head Start and PreK Counts Program in Baldwin High School.
“These young students will experience tremendous technological advances in their lifetime and PAsmart is preparing them with the knowledge to thrive,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “The Storytime STEM-packs funded by the PAsmart grant are a fun and innovative way to teach young children about math, science and literature.”
The governor launched the groundbreaking workforce development PAsmart initiative two years ago. The program encourages partnerships between educators and private industry to strategically invest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, so students are prepared for the high-growth jobs of today and the future.
“Pennsylvania must be a place where businesses want to move because we have the knowledgeable, skilled workforce they need,” said Governor Wolf. “The teachers and staff here are giving these children a step up by teaching STEM skills that are becoming essential in the modern workforce.”
The Wolf administration awarded a $399,379 PAsmart Advancing Grant earlier this year to the Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s Math & Science Collaborative to create a new round of Storytime STEM-packs. The materials combine children’s literature, robot challenges and math and science concepts in a fun and interactive STEM activity.
Using the PAsmart grant, the Allegheny Intermediate Unit will provide the Storytime STEM-packs to 40 preK-2 classrooms in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, 15 public libraries, 60 Head Start classrooms and 10 Diocese of Pittsburgh schools. The project will serve 192 educators and librarians and approximately 3,000 children this school year.
“The work to enhance computer science and STEM education is an effort that involves many organizations,” said AIU interim executive director Rosanne Javorsky. “While school districts are at the forefront of implementing computer science instruction, many other groups are also involved, such as community libraries, centers of higher learning, businesses, non-profits and local foundations. Each organization represents one piece of the larger effort, and together we are preparing today’s students to succeed in the world of tomorrow.”
The Baldwin-Whitehall School District also benefited from a $35,000 PAsmart Targeted grant to support computer science learning in three elementary schools.
“The Baldwin-Whitehall School District has been making substantial investments in computer science education for all students,” said Superintendent Randal Lutz. “Through the awarding of the PA Smart Grant, we have been able to provide an introduction to computer science for all elementary children in grades K-5. As a recognized leader in public education, BWSD, with the support of Governor Wolf and PAsmart, continues to provide exceptional opportunities for all children to be prepared for what will come next.”
PAsmart has made Pennsylvania a national leader in STEM and computer science education. Accomplishments under Governor Wolf include:
- Ranking second in the nation for investments in computer science education;
- Advancing Pennsylvania to third in the nation in the number of nationally-recognized STEM ecosystems and making the commonwealth the fifth largest producer of STEM graduates;
- Establishing standards for computer science education in all Pennsylvania schools;
- Joining the Governors’ Partnership for K-12 Computer Science, a bipartisan initiative organized by Code.org, to advance policy, funding, and professional learning for computer science education.
The State Board of Education recently directed the Department of Education to begin the process of updating Pennsylvania’s science standards.
For more information about pursuing an education and career in Pennsylvania at any stage of life, visit PAsmart.