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You will hear the acronym STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) a lot whenever the discussion turns to improving education in the United States, and there is a good reason. Those disciplines are the cornerstones of the jobs that will keep America competitive in the near and distant future, and we have to get our students ready for that future now.

Imagine a child cooped up inside a stuffy apartment building on a beautiful, sunny day because there’s no safe place to play outside. She has only unhealthy processed and fast foods to eat. This image is far removed from the nostalgic picture of a childhood summer filled with fun family vacations and camps. But for too many children, it is a reality that directly affects how ready they will be to move ahead in the classroom come September.

Members of the group Game Changerz, also known as Sports Wives With Purpose, were in Washington recently, and we took the opportunity to ask them to talk about their favorite children’s books and the lessons they teach.

President Obama today celebrated the remarkable achievements of student science fair winners and extraordinary kid innovators from across the nation in the third White House Science Fair. The Fair brought 100 students from more than 40 states to an all-day, hands-on celebration of the power and potential of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.

One of the major factors that contribute to children falling behind in reading is the learning loss that occurs during summer break. Low-income students, in particular, lose two to three months in reading achievement over the summer.

John Urbigkit has service in his blood. He has volunteered as an EMT medic, Boy Scout leader and even earned a Purple Heart for his service in the Korean War. But it is his role as a Senior Corps volunteer with the Southeast Wyoming Foster Grandparent Program that earned this community hero a distinguished honor that brought him to Washington, DC.

Today, too many young people in America are struggling. More than a million students drop out of high school each year and one in every three do not graduate on time. The problem is even more severe among African American and Latino youth, and those from low-income backgrounds.

On Aug. 1, 13 teachers gathered at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for STEM Fest, a panel discussion highlighting effective practices in STEM-based service-learning. Convened by Youth Service America (YSA), STEM Fest celebrated the teachers' achievements in implementing YSA's STEMester of Service, a program that introduced extended service-learning to middle school students to learn science, technology, engineering, and math by addressing local environmental issues.

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