PA Dept. of Education Launches Second Cohort of Science Education Leadership Network

Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE)

HARRISBURG, PA — Secretary of Education Dr. Noe Ortega recently joined NextGenScience to announce the second cohort of the Pennsylvania Science Education Leaders (PennSEL) Network, a cohort of leadership teams across Pennsylvania working to promote and expand science learning for all students.

“It is critical that Pennsylvania’s students are prepared to enter college and career equipped with the skills needed in an increasingly technical workforce. This partnership will provide learners across the commonwealth with the skills and connections they need as they consider their postsecondary pathway,” said Sec. Ortega. “Through partnerships like this, our continued support for STEM education, and our investment in our schools, students, and educators, Pennsylvania is primed to continue to build on its legacy in STEM innovation for decades to come.”

The PennSEL Network is a multi-year effort launched by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and NextGenScience in June 2021 and works to strengthen STEM education by investing in and increasing access to STEM learning experiences for educators and students.

In September 2019, the State Board of Education charged PDE with updating Pennsylvania’s science, technology, environment, ecology, and engineering standards for the first time in approximately 20 years, and the PennSEL Network will support science network teams to lead the transition to these new standards in their communities.

“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. “Given recent events, it’s more important than ever that all students are empowered to think of science as something that helps them address issues that affect their lives and communities.”

Pennsylvania remains a leader in STEM education, with efforts to support high-quality STEM and computer science learning and professional development opportunities to communities across Pennsylvania, including within early learning centers, libraries, out-of-school time providers, career and technical education centers, post-secondary institutions, and K-12 schools.

During the past seven years, the Wolf Administration has invested $116 million in science, computer science and technical education, including $80 million in the innovative PAsmart program and $36 million in apprenticeships and workforce training.

The PennSEL Network is supported by the Arconic Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Grable Foundation.

For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs, please visit the Department of Education’s website.

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