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.

Many Wake County organizations focus on strategies to address the summer reading loss of Wake County Public School System (WCPSS). WAKE Up and Read, a community collaborative, spearheads much of the work. WakeEd serves on the WAKE Up and Read leadership team.

Expanding our work to support students beyond summer reading loss, Wake Ed is collaborating with WCPSS to address STEM principles through its STEMpact initiatives. SummerSTEM is a primary component of this work.

Sponsored by WakeEd Partnership, WCPSS, and business and organizational partners in the RTP area, SummerSTEM is more than professional development. From July 13-17, 50 educators engaged in hands-on experiences designed to bring real-world lessons to the classroom. They partnered with actual STEM workers, spending time at Biogen, LORD Corporation, The National Institute for Environmental Health Services (NIEHS), NC Department of Transportation, Red Hat and SAS. In addition, partnerships with Applebee’s, Bayer, Duke Energy and North Carolina New Schools made the event possible.

SummerSTEM is a unique program that allows educators to apply STEM theory to reality. SummerSTEM puts educators on the front lines, immersing them in the careers and workplaces they are preparing their students to enter in the future.

Our business partners opened their doors and educators used their time during summer break to find a middle ground between the real world and the classroom. This commitment challenges the WakeEd team to continue bridging the gap between education and business in Wake County.