, Newburyport, MA

March 1, 2013

Business Coalition's STEM team seeking participants

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

Many in town have heard of the Newburyport Education Foundation (NEF). Many have even heard about the wonderful contributions they have made to our local public schools. The Business Coalition, an arm of the NEF, might not be as familiar. The Business Coalition, known previously as the NEBC, has been active in our schools for 20 years. Its focus is to build bridges between our local businesses and the classroom.

Although the business connections are in all areas of learning, a year ago, the school district and the Business Coalition created an ad hoc group focused on promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Increased participation in STEM by students in grades K-12 has been identified as a national priority and students need to understand and be aware of the vast career opportunities in STEM-related fields.

The ad hoc meetings were well attended by members of the community, faculty and administrators within the district. As a result of these meetings a STEM team within the Business Coalition was formed to develop plans and recommendations (to the district) to promote STEM in grades K through 12. A number of passionate citizens have met monthly since then and have created a foundation from which to move forward. They’ve honed the recommendations from the ad hoc meetings into three primary areas of focus. They are curriculum, culture and careers. A number of recommendations are currently being implemented.

Now, we and the STEM team are reaching out to the community seeking both STEM companies in the greater Newburyport area as well as those who live in Newburyport and work in STEM-related professions. Citizens and businesses of Newburyport can participate in a number of ways such as a guest speaker, a mentor, a science fair judge, to name a few. The STEM team would also welcome individuals with a passion for promoting STEM to students of Newburyport.

If you would like to participate or learn more, please contact Heather Hansen at

Please join us for an open forum on Wednesday, March 13, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Newburyport High School. At this meeting the district, the NEF Business Coalition and the STEM team will provide an overview of current initiatives and highlight the importance of STEM for our students and for our nation.

Beth Simkins

Chair, NEF Business Coalition

Marc Kerble, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools