MDE Announces New MiSTEM Regions, Plan

Bob Kefgen's picture

MDE recently announced that the MiSTEM Network – created under the 2017-18 School Aid Budget as a presumed replacement for the long-standing Michigan Math and Science Center Network – has formalized the structure of its 16 new service regions and is in the process of developing community partnerships and strategies to promote its new mission. The shift from dedicated state funding for the Math and Science Center Network to the new MiSTEM councils is just one more part of a broader, state-level shift in focus away from general education toward a focus on careers and the workforce.

While the 2018-19 School Aid Budget has yet to be finalized and the Michigan Math and Science Center Network is still technically funded through September 30, 2018, it seems most likely that the transition in legislative funding to the new MiSTEM Network will happen in the next budget year.

As part of this shift, Principals may or may not see a shift in who is providing math and science professional development or student services, or the level or type of services available under the MiSTEM Network. The Michigan Math and Science Center Network has been known for a heavy focus on professional learning and student services centered around general education studies of math and science. The four pillars of the MiSTEM Network reflect a broader focus on building a STEM culture, STEM experiences, empowering teachers and integrating education and business.

Principals who want more information on the new MiSTEM Network can see the recent press release from MDE (reproduced in its entirety below).

MiSTEM Regions Around Michigan to Develop Partnerships and Strategic Plans

LANSING – Sixteen new regions have been formed around the state to develop community partnerships and strategies that promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and careers.

Each region is receiving part of nearly $1.3 million in state funding to develop their own strategic plans that create a robust regional STEM culture that empowers STEM educators; integrates business and education into the STEM network; and ensure high-quality STEM experiences for students.

"This is another important step in bringing education and business together to develop world-class talent throughout Michigan," said State Superintendent Brian Whiston. "This is included in Goal 1 to help Michigan become a Top 10 education state in 10 years and vital to our state's further success."

The state of Michigan, together with business, education, and community partners, has embarked on a journey to create a MiSTEM Network throughout the state. This opportunity grew out of Governor Rick Snyder's MiSTEM Advisory Council recommendation to make Michigan a world leader in STEM education.

"The MiSTEM Network journey allows us to redefine how to best meet the educational and career development goals of our students," said Megan Schrauben, Executive Director of the MiSTEM Network. "The shared leadership and responsibility of the partners engaged in this work will move forward workforce talent development, and significantly contribute to the vibrancy and vitality of our communities."

The MiSTEM Advisory Council listed four pillars as necessary components to establish a system that will produce STEM-equipped students and educators: create a STEM culture; empower STEM teachers; integrate business and education; and ensure high-quality STEM experiences.

The work of the MiSTEM Network is to build on existing STEM networks to create an ecosystem that supports and implements those components.

"The Governor's MiSTEM Advisory Council is excited about this next phase of STEM focus by the state," said Christian Velasquez, Global Strategic Market Director at Dow Corning Corporation and Co-Chair of the MiSTEM Advisory Council. "The MiSTEM regions should allow for more engagement with Michigan's STEM education process from business, non-profits, out-of-school STEM program providers, higher education, and community partners to help deliver a career ready STEM workforce."

The MiSTEM Network Plan was submitted by the MiSTEM Network Committee to establish 16 regions encompassing every community in the state.

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and Department of Technology, Management, and Budget (DTMB) collaboratively approved awards to fiscal agents in each of the 16 regions to organize the development of a strategic plan in coordination with the Career and Education Advisory Councils.

These strategic plans are to be completed during the 2017-2018 fiscal year in order to receive funds to implement their plan in upcoming years.

Housed within the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, the MiSTEM Network Office works collaboratively with the Michigan Department of Education to facilitate and fund MiSTEM programs throughout the state.