Arizona SciTech Community Launches AZSTEM School Community of Practice to Advance STEM Education

Industry: Technology

All Arizona K-12 schools with a passion for STEM education are encouraged to submit a free application by the deadline of March 15, 2016

Phoenix, Arizona (PRUnderground) January 27th, 2016

Arizona SciTech today announced the formation of the AZSTEM School Community of Practice, an initiative that empowers practitioners to learn from one another in a social structure based on their learning goals. Arizona SciTech along with the Freeport- McMoRan Foundation Center for Leadership in Learning at Arizona Science Center and Intel Corporation are leading the initiative as part of a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) ecosystem within the national STEM Funders Network.

“People learn the best through collaboration and the Community of Practice is a proven model that excels at building much needed partnerships between educational institutions, community organizations and the workforce,” said Jeremy Babendure, Ph.D., executive director, Arizona SciTech. “By leveraging existing knowledge and engaging in a process of sharing and collective problem solving, performance is enhanced and connections are created across organizational boundaries.”

All Arizona K-12 schools with a passion for STEM education are encouraged to submit an application to join the AZSTEM School Community of Practice by March 15, 2016. Successful applicants will have a proposed team of at least six core members consisting of a school administrator, a student such as a Chief Science Officer, two teachers, a parent and a community and/or industry collaborator. Finalists are required to commit to a series of four meetings and one school site visit from the period of April, 2016 – March, 2017. There is no fee to apply and applications can be completed online at

“When it comes to STEM learning, it’s important to help all youth reach their full potential,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president & CEO, Arizona Technology Council. “This dynamic collaboration will create learning opportunities that connect and deepen real-world STEM experiences and expose students to potential STEM careers.”

Arizona SciTech is part of the inaugural STEM Ecosystem Project group of 27 STEM Learning Ecosystems selected by the STEM Funders Network that answered a call by the President to cultivate opportunities for building students’ STEM knowledge and expertise in STEM.

“We applaud Arizona SciTech for being a part of the STEM ecosystem project and taking the next step to develop its own Community of Practice,” said Gerald Solomon, co-chair, STEM Funders Network and executive director of the Samueli Foundation. “This is exactly the type of initiative that will create STEM-rich learning environments and nurture and scale effective STEM learning opportunities for all young people.”

“We are privileged to have the opportunity to share the best practices we’ve developed throughout our many years as a community leader in science education with schools across the state,” said Andi Fourlis, Ed.D., chief learning officer, Freeport-McMoRan Foundation Center for Leadership in Learning at Arizona Science Center. “STEM learning experiences are essential for student success and this initiative is designed to facilitate knowledge from the real world, which is how students learn most effectively.”

“STEM education gives our students the fundamentals they need to succeed and prepares them for rewarding careers that will drive our economy forward,” said Renee Levin, community engagement manager, Intel. “By developing a learning partnership with our schools, we can share our successes, collaboratively create knowledge and discover new possibilities.”

About Arizona SciTech

Aizona SciTech is committed to promoting the celebration of science, technology and engineering across the state. Spearheaded by its Foundational Partners, Arizona SciTech is organizationally anchored at the Arizona Commerce Authority and fiscally anchored at the Arizona Technology Council Foundation. Additional Foundational Partners include the Arizona Board of Regents, Freeport-McMoRan Foundation Center for Leadership in Learning at Arizona Science Center, Arizona State University, and The University of Arizona. Arizona SciTech’s premier initiative is its annual science festival held in February and March. Through a series of more than 800 expos, workshops, conversations, exhibitions and tours held in diverse neighborhoods throughout the state, the festival excites and informs Arizonans age 3 to 103 how STEM will drive our state. Visit for more information.

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