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AIU Supports Transition to Updated PA Science Education Standards -- The First Update of its Kind in Nearly 20 Years

PennSEL Network: Improving science teaching & learning for all studentsThe Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) is proud to be a part of the state-wide transition to Pennsylvania’s updated science education standards.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is in the process of updating Pennsylvania’s science, technology, environment, ecology and engineering standards for the first time in approximately 20 years. In anticipation, PDE and NextGenScience launched the Pennsylvania Science Education Leaders (PennSEL) Network to improve science teaching and learning for all students. The AIU was selected to join a cohort of leadership teams representing 19 Pennsylvania regions. NextGenScience oversees the work of the network.

Earlier this year, the AIU invited a team of school-based and community educators to participate in the development of ways to improve local systems of science teaching and learning. Team lead Corinne Marko Murawski, Ed.D., science and mathematics coordinator at the AIU’s Math & Science Collaborative, said that network will provide new opportunities for educational leaders to reflect on practice, share ideas and collectively problem solve.

“If it was not evident before the pandemic, COVID has brought to light just how important the STEM fields are to helping us all understand the world around us and find solutions to emerging problems,” said Marko Murawski, “That is one reason I am so excited that a team from the AIU will be at the table to help bring the new science standards into the classrooms in our region.”

The network will use regional demonstration sites to generate innovative tools, resources and processes that can be shared with educators across the state. Funders include the Arconic Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Grable Foundation.

In the U.S., science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) occupations are projected to grow 8% from 2019 to 2029 -- more than two times faster than the 3.7% projected growth for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (2021).

“When educators from the school, district, regional and state level work together toward a common vision for science education, it makes a huge difference in creating meaningful and inclusive science experiences for students,” said Vanessa Wolbrink, associate director of NextGenScience.