State STEM director Shamika Williams-Henley of the V.I. Department of Education, recently attended the first-of-its-kind Federal-State Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education Summit, which was hosted by The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on June 25-26, in Washington D.C.
“The Federal-State STEM Summit provided the opportunity for the U.S Virgin Islands to sit at the table with STEM education leaders from across the nation to discuss and to strategize about STEM priorities and needs. Key issues such as diversity, accountability and flexibility in STEM Education, STEM Alliances, STEM workforce development, and STEM Teaching and Learning were at the forefront of virtually all discussions. It is the goal of our federal STEM partners to utilize the information gleaned from the summit to create a new federal STEM strategic plan, with an anticipated release date of December 2018,” said Williams-Henley.
According to the OSTP, the summit will now convene a diverse group of State STEM leaders, including officials from governors’ offices, K-20 educators, workforce and industry representatives, state policy experts, and non-government organization executives. These attendees will participate in the development of a new federal five-year STEM Education Strategic Plan in compliance with America COMPETES Act of 2010.
“This event is the first time an administration has asked for this level of State input when developing a federal STEM education strategy,” said Jeff Weld, senior policy advisor and assistant director for STEM education at OSTP.
“Top-down approaches to STEM education can often yield wonderful ideas, but it’s at the state and community level where the momentum happens. State leaders know best what kinds of programs will work in their communities and where they need the power of the Federal government to help drive success in this field. STEM education is critical to preparing our students for the jobs of the future. We must do everything we can to ensure that federal, state, local and tribal governments, communities, educators and private industry partners are united for the long-term success of our nation,” said Weld.
Alongside OSTP in planning and carrying out this summit are the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Labor and the Smithsonian Institution. STEM leaders from all 50 states, as well as U.S. territories and tribes, will attend the summit to illuminate and advance State-Federal STEM alignment.
In 1976, Congress established OSTP to provide the president and others within the executive office of the president with advice on the scientific, engineering and technological aspects of the economy; national security; homeland security; health; foreign relations; the environment; and the technological recovery and use of resources, among other topics.
OSTP also leads interagency science and technology policy coordination efforts, assists the Office of Management and Budget with an annual review and analysis of federal research and development in budgets, and serves as a source of scientific and technological analysis and judgment for the president with respect to major policies, plans and programs of the federal government.
Vibha Bansal, secondary math teacher, Central High School; Avon Benjamin, St. Thomas-St. John District math coordinator; Shabre Providence, newly announced 2016 awardee for the Presidential Award for Mathematics and Science Teaching (K-6), Ricardo Richards Elementary School; and Marisska Richards-Nurse, secondary science teacher, St. Croix Educational Complex High School, attended the summit alongside Shamika Williams-Henley.