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Bridges to College FY15 Grants Announced

The Bridges to College Program grants funds to support adult college transition services to increase the number of low-income, underrepresented, entry-level adult workers who enter and succeed in postsecondary education.  Adult basic education providers, including local education agencies, community-based organizations, community colleges and correctional facilities, were eligible to apply for this grant. Providers must have achieved recognized success in bridging academic gaps of underserved adult learner populations, with this work leading to college entrance, retention, and success.

>> FY15 Bridges to College Grantees

Documentary Film Premiere Rallies Science/Tech Community to Enhance State's Economic and Educational Future in STEM Education

Congressman Joe Kennedy, Vertex Pharmaceuticals CEO Jeff Leiden Host Capacity Crowd at Boston Museum of Science Screening

Filmmaker Mary Mazzio, iRobot CEO Colin Angle, Higher Education Associate Commissioner David Cedrone, Congressman Joe Kennedy, STEM Advisory Council Director Allison Scheff and NBC-Telemundo's Rocky Egusquiza pose around the Underwater Dreams poster at the premiereIn the photo (from left): Filmmaker Mary Mazzio, iRobot CEO Colin Angle, Higher Education Associate Commissioner David Cedrone, Congressman Joe Kennedy, STEM Advisory Council Director Allison Scheff and NBC/Telemundo's Rocky Egusquiza at the Underwater Dreams premiere. Photo credit: Derek Kouyoumjian

August 7— Patrick Administration officials joined with nearly 300 business, policy and educational leaders for the Massachusetts premiere of “Underwater Dreams,” the true-life story of how a group of Hispanic high school students from a high-poverty school district in Arizona beat MIT and other world-class competitors in a NASA-sponsored underwater robotics competition.

The premiere, held at Boston’s Museum of Science, was sponsored by the Governor Patrick’s STEM Advisory Council, which is co-chaired by Congressman Joseph Kennedy and Vertex Pharmaceuticals CEO Jeff Leiden, in association with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. The screening was part of the STEM Advisory Council’s ongoing public event series to create community discussions about the importance of science, technology, engineering and math education and workforce opportunities.

"This movie is a powerful testament to the impact STEM education can have on the life of a student, a family and a community," said Congressman Kennedy. "It's also a sharp reminder that we have much more work to do to ensure that every kid -- no matter who they are or what they start with -- gets access to the opportunities a STEM education can provide. That so many stakeholders from across the private and public sectors in Massachusetts came together last night to celebrate this film underscores what a compelling story it tells. I want to thank Mary Mazzio, Dr. Jeff Leiden, the entire STEM Council and all of the event sponsors for making last night possible." 

>> More info
>> More photos on Flickr
>> STEM Council website

Request for Proposals: Public K-12/Higher Ed Partnerships to Offer Enrollment Opportunities for Students with Severe Disabilities

Funding opportunityAugust 6—The Executive Office of Education External link has announced the second in a series of grant funding opportunities to implement and enhance partnerships between high schools in public school districts and public institutions of higher education (IHEs) to offer Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment (ICE) for students, aged 18–22, with severe disabilities.  Public colleges and universities interested in seeking funding to support a year-long planning process to develop an inclusive concurrent program are encouraged to apply, using this request for proposals External link. Proposals are due no later than September 29, 2014.

Massachusetts Higher Ed Leaders Join National Coalition Mobilizing in Support of Common Core Standards

Higher Ed for Higher Standards logoJune 11—Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education Richard M. Freeland and a dozen public college and university presidents have joined more than 200 college and university leaders from 30 states in a new coalition, Higher Ed for Higher Standards External link, to mobilize in support of the Common Core State Standards, the Department of Higher Education announced today.

>> More info

MA Board of Higher Education Adopts Nation’s 1st Statewide Civic Learning Policy for Public Campuses

Community Colleges, State Universities, UMass Campuses to Deepen Focus on Preparing Students for Engaged Citizenship

May 8—The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (BHE) has adopted a first-in-the-nation policy on civic learning for public college and university students and will work with the Commonwealth’s community colleges, state universities and University of Massachusetts campuses to incorporate civic learning as an "expected outcome" for undergraduate students beginning in the 2014-15 academic year, the Department of Higher Education announced today.

>> More info
>> Complete copy of the Board's Civic Learning policy (.PDF)

4th Annual “29 Who Shine” Awards Kick Off 2014 Commencement Season

Governor Patrick, Education Leaders, Media Publishers to Honor Community College, State University and UMass Graduates for Contributions to the Commonwealth

The US Technology Skills Gap book cover

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education has announced the Class of 2014 winners of the 29 Who Shine awards, the Commonwealth’s annual ceremony honoring one graduate from each community college, state university and University of Massachusetts campus for their academic achievements and civic contributions to the Commonwealth. Profiles, including home towns and student photos, are available here.

Among this year’s honorees who will attend the State House awards ceremony at 12 noon on May 8th are student veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, students who achieved academic honors despite becoming homeless, and students who launched local organizations to combat sexual assault on campus, promote autism awareness, and create lending libraries for students who cannot afford to buy textbooks. The “29” also include graduates who taught computer skills to domestic abuse survivors, conducted medical research to limit the spread of infectious diseases, and volunteered in local nursing homes and schools.

“The 29 Who Shine represent the best and the brightest of our public higher education system,” said Secretary of Education Matthew Malone. “I’m inspired by how these graduates are giving back to their communities and at the same, for many, also working full time to support their families. And even with all they have going on these students achieved high academic honors. These are the types of people who you want as your neighbor and I’m very proud of each of them.”

>> Read the full press release
>> More information on the 29 Who Shine Awards

DHE, Governor’s STEM Advisory Council Launch New Public Lecture Series

Series Opens May 2 at Dassault Systèmes with Focus on Tech Skills Gap, Hosted by Congressman Joe Kennedy and Vertex Pharmaceuticals CEO Jeff Leiden

The US Technology Skills Gap book cover

May 1—The Department of Higher Education and the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council are partnering with Dassault Systèmes to launch a new STEM Council Lecture series beginning at Dassault Systèmes, 175 Wyman St. in Waltham, on May 2 from 3-6pm. The inaugural event will feature Gary Beach, author of The US Technology Skills Gap: What Every Technology Executive Must Know to Save America’s Future. Beach, publisher emeritus for CIO Magazine and founder of TechCorps, will give a talk on the history of the technology skills gap in America, lessons learned from other economic superpowers and recommendations for the U.S. market.

Mr. Beach will highlight three themes to explain why STEM matters: a stronger future economy, a more employable global workforce, and increased national security. Mr. Beach will offer recommendations for moving forward, including: a new approach to individualized student assessment; strategies on teacher recruitment; the importance of “doing” in the learning of STEM; and a new approach to reinventing the public education system in America.

“We’ve developed this series to engage members of the STEM Advisory Council and business leaders in a deeper conversation about the future of STEM education in Massachusetts and the need to increase the capacity of the STEM Pipeline in Massachusetts,” said Allison Scheff, Executive Director of STEM for the Commonwealth. The event is free and open to the public. it will be hosted by the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council Co-Chairs Congressman Joe Kennedy and Co-Chair Dr. Jeff Leiden, CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

>> Read more about the Governor's STEM Advisory Council

Op-Ed: Are our students ready for college?

Mitchell Chester speaking, from the Boston Globe Richard Freeland speaking, from the Boston Foundation

By Mitchell Chester, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, and Richard Freeland, Commissioner of Higher Education

The Boston GlobeMarch 27—Massachusetts’s chief economic asset in the global economy is its unparalleled brain trust — the preparation and production of a highly educated citizenry and workforce. As a national leader in education, the Commonwealth has seen its elementary and secondary students rise to the occasion time and again with increased rates of proficiency on state and national exams.

But beneath the surface of this strong student performance, a more nuanced picture emerges. Nearly 31 percent of Massachusetts’s public high school graduates who enroll at one of the state’s public colleges or universities — including 65 percent of all community college students — place into one or more noncredit-bearing, remedial courses. Achievement gaps between students of color and white students are higher than the national average, as are the gaps between the college enrollment rates of students of color and white students. In a state where 72 percent of the jobs will require college degrees or training by 2020, the fact that so many students are deemed unprepared for college should set off alarms.

Educators need new assessment tools that guide them in instituting earlier and more effective interventions to support struggling students. ... >> Continues on

>> More What's New


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