Gov. Wolf, STEM Leaders Tout PAsmart Investments in Western Pa.’s Students
September 27, 2019
Oakmont, PA – Governor Tom Wolf toured Riverview Junior-Senior High School to talk with science and technology students and join leaders of ABC CREATE, Allegheny Intermediate Unit and Remake Learning to highlight how PAsmart, his groundbreaking workforce development initiative, is investing in education and skills training to prepare students for good-paying careers in high demand.
“With PAsmart, Pennsylvania will have the most prepared and talented workforce in the country, which will help workers and businesses succeed, grow the middle class, and strengthen the economy for everyone,” said Governor Wolf. “We are partnering with schools and the private sector to strategically invest in science and technology education, so students are prepared for the high-growth jobs of today and the future.”
The governor has secured $70 million for PAsmart over two years, including $40 million for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and computer science education and $30 million for job training. Last year, the administration awarded nearly $10 million in grants of up to $35,000 each to 765 schools to expand computer science courses. An additional $10 million in grants of up to $500,000 were awarded to 24 schools and community partnerships to enhance STEM learning.
Riverview School District received a $35,000 computer science grant and is benefiting from a grant to ABC CREATE to enhance curriculum across several school districts in the region. The Department of Education will soon accept applications for $20 million in PAsmart grants that will be awarded this school year.
“Resources provided through state programs like the PAsmart grant have helped to even the learning playing field for students and aided in Riverview’s ranking as an Overachieving School District across the region,” said Dr. Margaret DiNinno, superintendent, Riverview School District.
“Investing in STEAM experiences helps equip our students with the tools they will need to be successful in a global economy,” said Riverview Junior-Senior High School Principal Eric Hewitt.
“Preparing students to thrive in a rapidly changing technological world requires a shift in teaching and learning and an agility and responsiveness from educators,” said Colleen Smith, project coordinator, ABC CREATE, and STEAM outreach coordinator, Penn State New Kensington. “It’s so exciting to see teachers at Riverview and at other ABC CREATE districts enthusiastically rising to those challenges and fully engaging students in STEAM-based experiences.”
“The Riverview School District and ABC CREATE exemplify our region’s commitment to innovation and collaboration in service of kids,” said Gregg Behr, co-chair, Remake Learning. “The sheer density of PAsmart grantees, many of whom are supported and strengthened by Remake Learning, confirms what we’ve known all along: that the world’s most curious, creative, and caring educators live right here in western Pennsylvania.”
“The Governor’s PAsmart investment is a crucial support for educators as they prepare students to succeed in STEM, STEAM and computer science related fields,” said Tyler Samstag, director of instructional innovation, Allegheny Intermediate Unit. “Together with our regional partners, the AIU and transformED is proud to be a part of a larger collaboration that shares resources and connects schools and communities to build the capacity of teachers across the region.”
With PAsmart, Pennsylvania is a national leader in STEM and computer science education and 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 made 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.
Earlier this month the State Board of Education directed the Department of Education to begin the process of updating Pennsylvania’s science standards to align them with current research and best practices, including a review of Next Generation Science Standards.