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Norwin to host educators conference again

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By Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Norwin School District will again host a conference for educators to “prepare young people for jobs of the future” focusing on the disciplines of STEM — science, technology, engineering and math, the district's superintendent said Monday.

The district joined with ASSET STEM Education, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit, to sponsor the summit, which will bring together business, industry, education and government leaders for a one-day STEM Summit. The event, titled “A Vision for STEM Education: Exploring, Connecting, Transforming,” will be held Feb. 18 in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh.

School directors approved the co-sponsorship Monday evening.

There's potential to attract 500 participants to the event, which includes keynote speakers, workshops and networking, Superintendent William Kerr said.

The district held a similar event in March that drew about 350 educators and business representatives.

“The success of last year's Norwin STEM Summit was a major factor in Norwin's selection (by ASSET STEM), and we are pleased that ASSET has recognized Norwin's vision to expand innovation in the field of STEM Education for educators and students,” Kerr said in a news release.

He called the partnership “a true collaboration between a nonprofit and our school district.” It will increase the impact and reach of the event, according to the district.

ASSET STEM is nationally recognized, and its science curriculum is used in more than 100 districts in the state, the district said. Its goal is “achieving student success through excellence in teaching with a hands-on, minds-on formula,” according to the district.

Norwin is the only district ASSET STEM approached for co-sponsorship, Kerr said. The organization attended Norwin's STEM Summit in March.

“This important conference will help schools identify where they are on the STEM continuum and bring together resources to help move them towards becoming a model STEM school,” Cynthia Pulkowski, executive director of ASSET STEM, said in a district news release.

Kerr called it “an honor” to be asked to partner with the nonprofit.

At the district's inaugural STEM event in March, Kerr said the district has emphasized STEM fields, highlighting initiatives such as an elementary “camp invention” and a middle school robotics competition.

A group of Norwin teachers will attend the February event, held on an in-service day. Federal grant money will cover the cost to bus teachers to the convention center.

“It's going to be an opportunity for educators, as well as students down the road, to be engaged with hands-on learning,” Kerr said.

Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or

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