Campus and Pioneer Valley STEMNET receive $10,000 grant

By Patrick J. Callahan

The Pioneer Valley Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Regional Network (STEMNET) has received a $10,000 state planning grant to fund development of a regional network to help teaching and learning science and mathematics in Western Massachusetts. The initiative is also aimed at improving regional economic development.

The network includes more than 30 school districts, colleges and universities, businesses, and community organizations. Funding comes from the so-called Pipeline Fund, created in 2003 by a state law designed to stimulate the state economy. The fund is administered by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education.

With the grant, the Pioneer Valley STEMNET proposes to further develop the regional network, collect data about existing science and technology initiatives from pre-kindergarten through college, and develop a proposal for the next phase of the fund.

Allan Feldman, professor of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies and principal investigator for the grant, says, “The Pioneer Valley STEMNET brings people together to improve the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics across Western Massachusetts. What makes this project different is that it is tied to the economic development of the region. It’s called the Pipeline Fund because part of the goal is to increase the flow of well-prepared students through the schools and colleges and into the work force to sustain high technology growth in the region.”

The network includes: Public schools in Chicopee, Easthampton, Holyoke, Palmer, and Springfield; The Amherst-Pelham, Gateway, and Hampden-Wilbraham regional school districts; the Diocese of Springfield Catholic schools; Elms College, Holyoke Community College, Greenfield Community College, Springfield College, Smith College, Western New England College, Westfield State College, and Springfield Technical Community College. Also: the Five College Public School Partnership, Hampshire Educational Collaborative, Center for Learning, Franklin-Hampshire Regional Employment Board, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, Regional Education & Business Alliance, Teaching and School Change, Western Massachusetts Electric Company. Also: UMass Extension, UMass Physics Education Research Group, MassNanoTech, Scientific Reasoning Research Institute, STEM Education Institute, the Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere, and the Center for Computer-Based Instructional Technology.