This fall, Pickaway County STEM Advisory Committee has partnered with the PAST Foundation to host four community workshops, between July and September, for community leaders to develop a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) roadmap action plan. The purpose is to innovate our K-12 education systems, increase STEM career attainment, and build a sustainable future for long-term quality of life for our residents.

Pickaway County Extension, in conjunction with Pickaway County Schools and the PAST Foundation, is also piloting a 2017/2018 Countywide K-12 Teacher Pilot Program. The program will provide a select countywide cohort of K-12 teachers with year-long support and professional development that links innovative instruction, community partnerships, and content delivery. The purpose of the pilot program and professional development partnership is to help the community develop a strategic plan for transitioning the county education systems to problem-based education aligned to the region’s workforce development needs.

Pickaway County Extension has partnered with our local Soil and Water Conservation District, higher education institutions, local businesses, industry, superintendents, district curriculum directors, K-12 educators, Extension educators, as well as local government officials, in the planning and implementation of this teacher pilot program that innovates school design. This summer the upcoming teacher pilot program received a $5,000 Clear into the Future™ donation from DuPont for the inclusion of sustainable environment training for teachers and problem-based learning curriculum development for the upcoming teacher pilot program.

Community Development in Pickaway County Extension is led by educator, Meghan Thoreau. She joined OSU Extension this year with a focus on preparing Pickaway County youth for STEM careers. Meghan works collaboratively with a team of Extension professionals, volunteers, campus collaborators, and community partners to provide leadership for the development, production, and evaluation of educational programs and applied research to foster STEM educational opportunities that increase career attainment in STEM fields.

Meghan provides leadership and programming to meet current and future needs related to STEM education with Pickaway County schools. She works in conjunction with the Pickaway County Educational Service Center, Pickaway HELPS, K-12 curricula coordinators, teachers, economic development organizations, local businesses, and OSU collaborators. She’s been involved in local school events that involve 21st century skill development for our youth, such as Real Money, Real World’s financial literacy program, STEM summer camp programming support, STEM activities at the county fair, and aiding in developing a digital literacy curriculum headed by OSU’s Distant Learning Office targeting K-12 applications. She’s also actively involved in helping schools develop makerspace classrooms, afterschool STEM programming, and professional development opportunities for teachers that promote STEM and problem-based learning approaches.

Meghan is involved with the Pickaway County STEM Advisory Committee that has been meeting regularly to discuss and explore innovative programs to create a hub of information with shared resources for our community because we need to develop critical thinkers. The committee is involved in STEM initiatives so that people at all levels are highly engaging lifelong learners who are collaborating and improving lives. Its diverse membership spans across the county, collaborating to boost STEM education, innovative school design, and community stewardship. The committee supports and promotes STEM-specific programs, STEM events, and STEM resources to Pickaway County residents.

To learn more about local STEM news and events in and around Pickaway County visit Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County on Facebook or visit www.go.osu.edu/PickSTEM. You may reach Meghan Thoreau at thoreau.1@osu.edu or 740.474.7967 to submit additional STEM events and programs to increase the STEM experience in Pickaway County.

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