WashingtonExec STEM Council Mobilizes to Adopt Langston Hughes Middle School 

Aimee Monticchio, Principal, Langston Hughes Middle School

Aimee Monticchio, Principal, Langston Hughes Middle School

The WashingtonExec STEM Council will beginning in September formalize its adoption of Langston Hughes Middle School (LMHS), a Fairfax County Public School based in Reston, Va., as part of its four-part initiative to bolster the local STEM talent pipeline by increasing student interest, parent advocacy, educator creativity and employee engagement locally.

Spearheaded by WashingtonExec STEM Council member Jim Howland,  an Associate Technical Director of MITRE‘s E530, Electronic Systems and Technology division, the partnership marks the start of the Council’s ongoing volunteer initiative to impact FCPS schools.

“The program was selected for middle school because that’s where children make decisions to engage in certain school topics, academic paths and later on career paths,” Howland said, noting that students are first introduced to complex math in preparation for Algebra during the 7th grade, making the time a critical period. “This is where kids learn to ‘hate’ math and get turned off by any suggestion of math or science. This time period is also where kids ate tested for advanced classes or not, so it’s a tough time to get turned off by any subject — it has lifelong impact.”

Pre-screened volunteers from MITRE, a not-for-profit organization that operates federally sponsored research and development centers, will beginning in the fall tutor middle school students on specific STEM topics deemed by their teachers to be particularly challenging to the class.

Howland said he has met on behalf of the STEM Council with the school’s administrators and math and science teachers and assigned ‘summer homework.’

“Langston Hughes has a wide spectrum of students from all walks of life in terms of diversity, economic and family life background where limited resources and mentorship inadequacies face some of the students each day,” Howland said.

In addition to the volunteer sessions, the WashingtonExec STEM Council anticipates spearheading a ‘Hands-on Engineering’ at LHMS that each quarter would gather students for multi-hour ‘science-craft’ sessions to encourage them to design, analyze, build, test and play with real STEM objects.

The WashingtonExec STEM Council’s other initiatives to bolster the STEM pipeline include: the launch of its 2013 STEM Symposium — which last March drew exhibitors and 1,500 students, teachers, parents and executives for an all-day interactive event; the crafting of a National Capital Region “Corporate STEM Playbook” — an instructional handout that so as to match STEM needs and opportunities identifies ways for small, mid-size and large corporations to implement STEM education outreach programs;  and the pending launch of Stemexec.com — a media outlet aimed at building awareness about corporate outreach programs and local needs by profiling companies, government agencies and executives who contribute to the overall success of the WashingtonExec STEM initiative within the NCR.

The Council last month also announced that the 2015 K-12 STEM Symposium is set to take place March 7, 2015. For more information about that, to sign up to sponsor or to assist any of the aforementioned initiatives, click here.

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