PA Dept. of Education Holds a Roundtable Discussion with the Bucks IU on Their PAsmart Grant

The Bucks County Intermediate Unit (Bucks IU) was proud to host the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for a round­table dis­cus­sion regard­ing their award to the Bucks IU of a PAsmart Advancing Grant.  This grant, for $412,656, is for the cre­ation of a Mobile Fab (Fabrication) Lab and its relat­ed edu­ca­tion­al pro­grams.  Facilitated by Mr. Judd Pittman, Special Advisor to the PA Secretary of Education and PDE Special Consultant on STEM, the grant was made avail­able through Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s PAsmart pro­gram

The impor­tance of this grant, and what the edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ty it rep­re­sents, was evi­dent as seen by the leg­is­la­ture and county‐wide per­son­nel that joined Mr. Pittman at the round­table:

  • PA State Representatives
    • Rep. Meghan Schroeder (District 29)
    • Rep. Wendi Thomas (District 178)
    • Rep. Wendy Ullman (District 143)
  • Bucks County Intermediate Unit
    • Dr. Mark Hoffman, Executive Director
    • Dr. Lindsey Sides, Supervisor of STEM Education
    • Ms. Nicole Borland, Supervisor of Federal and Non‐Public Programs
  • Dr. Michael Donnelly, Palisades School District Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
  • Ms. Laura Enama, Central Bucks School District Supervisor of Science and Elementary QUEST
  • Dr. Leon Poeske, Bucks County Technical High School Director
  • Ms. Karen Snedeker Bristol Township School District Director of Elementary Education
  • Mr. Mark Solis, Bucks County Workforce Development Board, Business and Industry Specialist
  • Mr. Brian Suter, Neshaminy School District Lead Science Teacher

Senator Steve Santarsiero was rep­re­sent­ed by both Mr. Stephen Seufert and Mr. Dan Fagan from his office. 

Mr. Pittman’s ques­tions helped high­light how a Mobile Fab Lab will serve as a plat­form for learn­ing and inno­va­tion: a place to play, to cre­ate, to learn, and to invent by pro­vid­ing stu­dents with project‐based, hands‐on, STEM edu­ca­tion.  Information was pro­vid­ed on the tran­sit van that will be equipped to trans­port cod­ing and robot­ics mate­ri­als, 3D print­ers, laser and vinyl cut­ters, and more.  The Mobile Fab Lab will be avail­able to trav­el through­out the coun­ty to pro­vide age‐appropriate cur­ricu­lum, in week‐long pro­grams, at schools through the aca­d­e­m­ic year, Saturday and sum­mer pro­grams for stu­dents liv­ing in home­less shel­ters, and sum­mer camps.  

The Educators and Curriculum Directors on the pan­el pro­vid­ed sev­er­al points of infor­ma­tion on the ben­e­fit and impact they eager­ly antic­i­pate see­ing from their stu­dents as relat­ed to STEM edu­ca­tion and ulti­mate­ly STEM careers.  As the state has pro­ject­ed region­al and statewide Pennsylvania lab­­or force short­ages, specif­i­cal­ly in the com­put­er sci­ence and STEM job mar­kets, sev­er­al pan­elists focused on the impor­tance of ear­ly expo­sure of stu­dents to futures in STEM relat­ed fields.

For more infor­ma­tion STEM pro­grams from the Bucks IU, please con­tact Dr. Lindsey Sides, Supervisor of STEM Programs at 215–348-2940 Ext. 1460 or email her at LSides@BucksIu.org.