Lincoln STEM Ecosystem Selected to Join Global STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice


The Lincoln STEM Ecosystem has just been selected to join the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice, SLECoP. In a highly competitive process, Lincoln STEM Ecosystem was named one of 15 new ecosystems selected to join the global movement devoted to dramatic improvement in how students learn.

STEM Learning Ecosystems build meaningful regional connections among educators, business and industry partners, afterschool and summer programs, to prepare students for the opportunities and challenges of the future. Each ecosystem connects to counterparts from across the country and world, enabling the exchange of best practices, information and resource-sharing.

“As a recognized STEM Learning Ecosystem, we can tailor quality STEM learning opportunities to our specific needs in Lincoln while leveraging the experiences of similar alliances across the world,” said James Blake co-director of the Lincoln STEM Ecosystem and K-12 Science Curriculum Specialist for Lincoln Public Schools. “Lincoln already has a wide variety of amazing opportunities for students and families. The goal of the ecosystem is to increase equity and access to experiences that connect in and out of school learning to the real world and could lead to STEM careers.”

“Lincoln’s growth industries over the next ten years are led by health care, manufacturing, tech, and skilled trade/construction. What do they all have in common? Science, tech, engineering, and math (STEM),” said Bryan Seck, Director of Workforce Development, Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development, who joins James in directing and shaping the ecosystem.

Other founding members of the new Lincoln STEM Ecosystem include Lincoln Public Schools staff, policy makers, UNL faculty, STEM expert organizations, and private business such as Duncan Aviation, BVH Architecture, and Lincoln Electric System.

Learn more about the national initiative at stemecosystems.org. Follow the Lincoln STEM Ecosystem on Twitter @lnkse.


Lincoln leaders come together as part of global education movement


This spring the Lincoln STEM Ecosystem was selected to join the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice (SLECoP), a prestigious group with only 15 new ecosystems selected nationwide this year to join the global movement devoted to dramatic improvement in how students learn. (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.)

In a gathering of community, business and education leaders and stakeholders on April 18, Lincoln’s STEM Ecosystem celebrated the honor – but also started looking ahead with a call to action, and to begin developing a road map for what Lincoln’s program will look like.

“We need to be preparing our kids for their future, not our past, but we cannot solve these issues in isolation – we need our entire community to join this effort,” Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Steve Joel noted at the special gathering. “I look upon the STEM Ecosystem as a community-wide effort to put it all under one umbrella – in a community that deeply values education – a joint collaboration to create a vibrant future for our kids.”

James Blake, K-12 science curriculum specialist at LPS – and co-chair of the Lincoln STEM Ecosystem – noted this is only the beginning of building a quality Ecosystem tailored specifically to the needs of Lincoln, Nebraska. “We need to bring the business and education worlds together, making sure all segments are represented … This is about equity of access … increased talent and workforce development … connecting students to their interests … through experiences that connect in and out of school learning to the real world, leading to STEM careers.”

STEM Learning Ecosystems build meaningful regional connections among educators, business and industry partners, afterschool and summer programs, to prepare students for the opportunities and challenges of the future. Each ecosystem connects to counterparts from across the country and world, enabling the exchange of best practices, information and resource-sharing.

Other speakers at the special event included:

Bryan Seck, director of Workforce Development, Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development, and co-chair of the Lincoln STEM Ecosystem:

“Lincoln was chosen for this honor, because we have partnerships, community partnerships … and now we need to build upon those partnerships ... These are the jewels on a crown … This ecosystem can be a crown in our community bringing together K-12, postsecondary and business – jewels in that crown … With the STEM Ecosystem we are leveling the playing field and giving every student equal access.”

Julie Sigmon, director of the Omaha STEM Ecosystem:

“Congratulations, Lincoln, for joining this great network … The journey is different for every ecosystem, but the journey is definitely worth it … It takes many community-wide conversations, looking at asset mapping and resources available … Our mission …. ‘to encompass a rich array of STEM learning opportunities that ensure our community is meeting the need for future skills, processes and thinking necessary to be successful in STEM professions.’ ”

Kevin Wailes, Lincoln Electric System:

“We are talking about employers in this community … helping envision how we educate youth, inspire them, recruit them … This is so important to us as a community.”