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California Department of Education News Release
Release: #13-113
November 18, 2013
Contact: Giorgos Kazanis
E-mail: communications@cde.ca.gov
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tom Torlakson Convenes 2,000 California Educators for Statewide STEM Symposium

First Annual California STEM Symposium Continues Commitment to College and Career Readiness for All

SACRAMENTO—As school districts across California implement both Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards in their classrooms, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation [http://cdefoundation.org/] External link opens in new window or tab., and the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls [http://women.ca.gov/] External link opens in new window or tab. today convened the 2013 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Symposium at the Sacramento Convention Center.

The two-day event is attracting 2,000 California teachers, administrators, students, STEM program providers, and philanthropic and business leaders from around the state. The goal of the Symposium is to equip educators with the best practices, ideas, and strategies to bring high-quality STEM education to life in the classroom with two days of keynotes, hands-on workshops, student/teacher STEM demonstrations, and unique women in STEM programming. Most of the job growth in the coming years will be in the STEM fields.

"From the White House to local business support, there is more and more recognition of the importance of the STEM fields if we want to maintain California's—and the nation's—status as an economic powerhouse fueled by innovation," said Torlakson, who is delivering this morning's welcoming remarks before visiting student exhibits. "And if we're going to make good on our promise of career and college readiness for every student, we must improve and expand their access to STEM education."

"Science, technology, engineering, and math are where today's jobs are, and students who excel in STEM will be the superstars of the future," said Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who is serves as California's After School STEM Ambassador. "Providing first-class STEM education is the way to ‘give kids a shot that can't be blocked [http://www.skyhookfoundation.org/] External link opens in new window or tab..'"

The Symposium features a special track on increasing and supporting the participation of women and girls—as well as other underrepresented groups—in STEM fields, as well as a "Share Fair" where students and teachers will demonstrate STEM teaching and learning innovations ranging from building LEGO® robots and extracting DNA to underwater robotics, and the health benefits of chocolate.

STEM Symposium speakers include:

  • State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson;
  • NBA legend and California's After-School STEM Ambassador Kareem Abdul-Jabbar;
  • Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls;
  • Education scientist and 2013 TED Prize winner luminary Dr. Sugata Mitra;
  • NASA astronaut and Reaching for the Stars! Foundation founder José Hernández; and
  • 12-year-old iPhone app developer Thomas Suarez.

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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5206, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

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