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Cumberland County Schools Launches STARward STEM Program

In an effort to expand STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) participation for student populations typically underrepresented in STEM fields, about 70 Cumberland County Schools (CCS) teachers and administrators and STEM industry partners gathered virtually today to officially launch the STARward STEM program, hosted by CCS and RTI International (Durham, NC).
 
STARward STEM is a three-year program funded by the Department of Defense (DoD) STEM to support equitable access to high-quality STEM education opportunities for youth in CCS.
 
"It's another great day in Cumberland County Schools, and we are excited about this new, exciting initiative for our teachers and students," said CCS Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr. "In Cumberland County Schools, our vision is for every student to have access to engaging learning that prepares them to be collaborative, competitive, and successful in our global world. The STARward STEM program will help us do just that. We can't wait to see our students reach for the stars."
 
During the day-long event, the teachers learned about the STARward STEM program and heard from space-connected STEM industry experts as they prepare to engage in summer training focused on project-based learning and supporting students in STEM enrichment activities that include a spaceflight experiment design challenge for K-12 students. Three proposed student spaceflight experiments will be selected annually to be launched as payload to the International Space Station with the support of DreamUp starting in the spring of 2022.
 
Organizers shared that over the course of the program, STARward STEM will work with over 300 teachers to engage more than 4,000 sudents in space-connected transdisciplinary project-based learning and STEM enrichment activities.
 
RTI, Cumberland County Schools, DreamUp, the Emerging Technology Institute (ETI), and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center are collaborating to redefine the way space curriculum is explored.