The idea that students experience a “reading slump” during the summer season is commonplace. New research indicates that the “slump” also has a profound impact on students’ comprehension of scientific, technological engineering and mathematical (STEM) principles. This is just one of the reasons WakeEd is collaborating with WCPSS to address STEM principles through its STEMpact initiatives. SummerSTEM is a primary component of this work.


As a collaboration between WakeEd Partnership, WCPSS, and business and organizational partners in the RTP area, SummerSTEM is more than professional development.

WakeEd was recognized by US2020 for Excellence in Public-Private Partnership at the 2016 STEM Mentoring Awards for our work with SummerSTEM and World Cafe.


SummerSTEM immerses WCPSS educators in businesses and organizations that focus STEM. This program exists to enrich the educator’s understanding of the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in STEM careers. At SummerSTEM, educators experience actual work-based practices used in STEM organizations and professionals share strategies with schools to make a “STEMpact.”

One-hundred educators from WCPSS schools engage in hands-on experiences designed to bring real-world lessons to the classroom.

During SummerSTEM

Educators participate in ten days of professional development learning opportunities, including:

  • Direct instruction in project-based learning
  • Investigation in community college instruction in applied STEM fields
  • Immersion in STEM work settings with STEM professionals
  • Coaching in lesson design using feedback protocols
  • Leadership experiences aligned with National Teacher Leader Model Standards

At the same time, businesses create interactive experiences for educators that demonstrate the relationship between the classroom and the business world.

After SummerSTEM

  • Mentors help educators refine units of study created from the professional development experience.
  • SummerSTEM participants implement their learning in the classrooms and businesses are able to support these efforts as little or as much as they desire.
  • A STEM symposium that highlights educator experiences and outcomes will be held in the spring following the event. Participants contribute their successful project-based learning units to the Wake County Public School System curriculum warehouse for use throughout Wake County.


“I cannot wait to put into practice all that I have learned. The businesses and Wake Tech Community College provided amazing opportunities for real-world application and inspired me to think bigger!”

“This was phenomenal. I wish I had more time.”

“We were thrown in and immediately engaged in an activity. It was real-life, authentic and engaging.”

“It has caused me to rethink how I teach and challenged me to try new ways of engaging students.”

“It certainly will transform classrooms and give students a strong foundation for the world of work by immersing them in 21st century skills.”

“Interesting connections to math that I had never thought of.”

Get Involved


Teams of two educators per school apply to participate. School administrators complete a portion of the application to demonstrate support for their teams.

STEM Businesses & Organizations

STEM businesses and organizations can offer to be host sites for educators and financially sponsor the event so more teachers can attend.

SummerSTEM 2017 Sponsors

To learn more about SummerSTEM, contact:

Teresa Pierrie

Director of Programs

(919) 780-5235 |