AzSTEM School Community of Practice - The Next Generation of STEM Education
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AzSTEM School Community of Practice – The next generation of STEM education

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  • Dr. Jeremy Babendure, Executive Director, Arizona SciTech

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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.

AzSTEM School Community of Practice - The next generation of STEM education azhp7-300x154

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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.

AzSTEM School Community of Practice - The next generation of STEM education azhp7-300x154

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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 Practice:

“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 practices…support 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 as Renee 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: A full list of the schools involved follows:

Avondale Elementary School District
Centerra Mirage STEM Academy
Copper Trails School
Michael Anderson School
Agua Fria High School District
Verrado High School
Amphitheater Unified School District
Lulu Walker Elementary 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.