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From Across the State to Innovate the Next Generation of STEM Education in Schools


TEMPE, AZ, April 12, 2016 – Arizona SciTech, the state’s leading innovator and proponent of STEM education, announces the launch of a joint initiative between hi-tech businesses, community members, educators, students, and parents to create the first ever AZ STEM School Community of Practice.  A Community of Practice is based upon the latest business strategy, where various stakeholders come together; they understand that knowledge is an asset that can be shared for the greater good.  These cross-stakeholder teams help each other, share information, build relationships and learn from one another.  Teams then leverage their collective existing knowledge to design innovative solutions to the problems and challenges they have identified. 


Arizona SciTech along with Intel, Arizona Science Center and the Maricopa Education Service Agency are leading the initiative as part of a STEM ecosystem within the STEM Funders Network. 


The first cohort of schools to be accepted into the new AZ STEM School Community of Practice consists of 57 forward-thinking, creative schools dedicated to sharing best practices and finding solutions to educate Arizona’s youths in the field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).  School teams across Arizona, each with representation from community and industry, school leadership, educators, teachers and students, will help each other, share information, build relationships and learn from one another.  Broader matters to address will be identified by the participants to collaborate and design innovative solutions to the problems and challenges of educating Arizona’s youths in the field of STEM; to prepare them to meet the high tech needs of the future.


Jeremy Babendure, PhD, Executive Director of AZ SciTech remarked on the highly successful initial collaboration, “We anticipated the first cohort would be made up of 20 school

teams.  We are proud to announce 57 teams from 26 districts have affirmed their commitment to join.  This overwhelming response confirms the interest and passion of Arizona Schools for STEM education and their desire to work collaboratively to transform our STEM ecosystem.”  


Several schools had various reasons for being included in the AZ STEM School Community of

               “We can collaborate to develop practices that will set everyone on a course of student
                achievement.  Building those relationships with others in the educational and business field will
                enhance our ability to teach students and look at ways to bring our community together on our
                STEM journey


“In order to provide our kids with quality STEM education, we need to keep learning ourselves.  We need to know and learn what other schools are doing well, and we need to learn from those schools.”


“Participation in the AZ STEM School Community of Practice would provide the opportunity to see how other schools and districts are implementing STEM curriculum at all levels of academia.”


“In the first year, the collaborative group will be able to develop supportive resources for all schools to easily access, share ideas of best student needs, discuss processes and systems for developing a STEM program…build relationships with other STEM education leaders.”


“As a group, we would be able to give STEM programs a louder voice across Arizona to bring more attention to all of the opportunities it has to offer our students.”


“As members of the AZ STEM School Community of Practice, we can also accomplish a sense of direction.  Because many schools are in different points along their STEM journey…focus our

attention and learning in a direction that will benefit all of its members.  Everyone can feel like

they are on the same path, even if they are in different places.  That sense of unity will take

away the fear of making a mistake or failing, and empower schools and teams to take chances…build a foundation that can grow as more schools join this community”.


STEM is all about innovation.  The AZ STEM School Community of Practice is a first of its kind and asRenee Levin, Intel Community Affairs & Education Manager commented, “The entire ‘team’ involved with the AZ STEM School Community of Practice is in actuality a dream team.”   


The kickoff meeting for AZ STEM School Community of Practice will take place at the SRP Pera Club (1 East Continental Drive, Tempe) on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 from 11:30 am – 3:30 pm. 


For more information about the AZ STEM School Community of Practice and please visit: full list of the schools involved follows:


Agua Fria High School District

Verrado High School                                                             


Amphitheater Unified School District

Lulu Walker Elementary School                                       


Avondale Elementary School District

Centerra Mirage STEM Academy                                    

Copper Trails School                                                             

Michael Anderson School                                                   


Cave Creek Unified School District

Desert Sun Academy                                                            


Chandler Unified School District

Andersen Elementary School                                            

Arizona College Preparatory Oakland Campus          

Basha High School                                                                 

Chandler High School                                                           

Conley Elementary School                                                 

Frye Elementary School                                                      

Hamilton High School                                                          

Weinberg Elementary School                                           


Creighton Elementary School District

William T. Machan Elementary School


Deer Valley Unified School District

Canyon Springs STEM Academy                                      

Legend Springs Elementary School                                

Sandra Day O'Connor High School                                 

Sierra Verde STEM Academy                                            

West Wing School                                                                  


Dysart Unified School District

Canyon Ridge School                                                            

Thompson Ranch Elementary School


Fort Huachuca Unified School District

Colonel Smith Middle School                                            


Gilbert Public Schools

Patterson Elementary School                                           

Glendale Elementary School District

Discovery Elementary School                                           


Higley Elementary School District

Bridges Elementary School                                                


Isaac Elementary School District

Alta E. Butler Elementary School                                     

Morris K. Udall Middle School

Moya Elementary School                                                    


Littleton Elementary School District

Estrella Vista Elementary School                                     


Madison Elementary School District

Madison Park Middle School                                             


Marana Unified School District

Coyote Elementary School

Quail Run Elementary School                                           

Rattlesnake Ridge Elementary School                          

Twin Peaks Elementary School                                        


Mesa Public Schools

Mendoza Elementary School                                            

Red Mountain High School                                                

Sirrine Elementary School                                                  


Paradise Valley Unified School District

Desert Shadows Elementary School                              

Fireside Elementary School                                                       


Phoenix Elementary School District

Kenilworth School                                                                 


Queen Creek Unified School District

Gateway Polytechnic Academy                                        

Queen Creek Middle School                                              


Roosevelt Elementary School District

Bernard Black Elementary School                                   


Saddle Mountain Unified School District

Tartesso Elementary School                                              


Scottsdale Unified School District

Navajo Elementary School                                                 


Tempe Elementary School District

Fees College Preparatory Middle School                     


Tolleson Elementary School District                            


Tolleson Union High School District

University High School


Washington Elementary School District

Orangewood Elementary School                                    


Individual Schools (Charter and Private)

Brophy College Preparatory                                              

Gilbert Arts Academy                                                           

Grande Innovation Academy                                            

Imagine West Gilbert

Sonoran Schools                                                                     

SySTEM Phoenix                                                                    

Western School of Science and Technology              




The AZ STEM Community of Practices is a diverse collaboration of 55 school communities

that empowers practitioners to learn from one another and transform how science, technology engineering and math (STEM) impacts schools and Arizona’s future workforce. The community involves all aspects of Arizona’s future STEM workforce including industry and community leaders, school leadership, educators, teachers, students and parents. The AZ STEM Community of Practice is an initiative of the Arizona SciTech Ecosystem in partnership with Intel, Arizona Science Center, Maricopa Education Service Agency and the National STEM Funders Network.


About Arizona SciTech


Through the process of spearheading one of the nation’s largest celebrations of science, technology and innovation, Arizona SciTech has cultivated dozens of regional STEM ecosystems in Arizona each involving diverse collaborations in industry, academia, arts, civic, community and K-12 education. Arizona SciTech is anchored at the Arizona Commerce Authority, in collaboration with additional foundational partners including the Arizona Technology Council Foundation, Arizona Science Center, Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Arizona Board of Regents.  Visit for more information.

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Jeremy Babendure | Executive Director, Arizona SciTech Festival
Arizona Commerce Authority
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