December 16, 2014 — Berkeley, CA. The Lawrence Hall of Science was honored to receive a 2014 STEM Innovation Award from the Silicon Valley Education Foundation. This year, the award emphasized programs and practices that set new benchmarks for innovation in integrating STEM disciplines. Ideas and concepts that work across the four STEM disciplines were given a special focus to align with the shifts toward the Common Core State Standards that our educators are implementing in our classrooms. Criteria that was considered for the award included:
- Use of innovative technology, concepts, programs or materials to excite students about learning, increase subject interest and improve academic performance.
- Use of technology to promote digital learning and/or digital access to educational content. Educational programs that have the potential for wide impact by an entire school, a district or a larger audience.
- Use of project-based, challenge-based learning.
- Alignment to KEEP Standards (Key Elements of Exemplary Programs), which are guidelines in which funders, educators, and other stakeholders could easily assess the quality and impact of a STEM-related program.
As the country’s only science center that is part of a top tier, public research university, the Lawrence Hall of Science connects world-class scientists, engineers, and educators with the goal of developing the most innovative and effective STEM programs available today. Every year, the Hall engages over 12 million students in the same practices that scientists and engineers use in their work, including problem solving and arguing from evidence. At the same time, the Hall delivers professional learning to educators around the world and increases access to resources through engaging digital tools for both students and teachers.
Exemplary programs from the Lawrence Hall of Science highlighted in the award include the national Afterschool KidzScience program, the TechHive teen learning lab, the Design Quest exhibit, the award winning 24/7 science and howtosmile.org websites, and the Hall's integrated science and language arts curriculum, Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading.
The nation looks to Silicon Valley Education Foundation to bring together leaders and organizations in STEM, and that was indeed the case at their annual Pioneers with Purpose event where the award was presented on October 1, 2014. Seven hundred guests attended with the common goal to elevate the achievements of Silicon Valley students, and 75 corporate and individual sponsors, including Oracle Education Foundation’s Executive Director, Colleen Cassity, who presented the Hall’s award, demonstrated their support for innovation in education.
The Lawrence Hall of Science is thankful to the Silicon Valley Education Foundation for this honor and hopes the award will further enable to the Hall to contribute its expertise and programs where there is great need, especially in parts of the Valley where there are expanding numbers of English Language Learners. The STEM Innovation Award serves as an important spotlight on the depth, effectiveness, and value of what the Hall has to offer, both on-site and around the Bay Area on a daily basis, and the many resources that we make available to families, educators, schools and the community.