June 2021
Education, business, and community partners in Michigan are embarking on a journey to make the state a world leader in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) education.
Region 8 Updates
Congratulations to Students Earning 2021 Breaking Traditions Awards

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) awarded the 2021 Breaking Traditions Awards to  65 high school and 10 college students statewide. 

Each of these students overcame obstacles and stereotypes to succeed in career and technical education (CTE) programs considered non-traditional for their gender. These students are "breaking traditions" by pursuing careers in which fewer than 25 percent of persons working in that field are their gender.  

There are three levels of awards: Excellence, Merit, and Recognition. The highest secondary and post-secondary BTA winners received the excellence award, which includes a $500 scholarship from the Michigan Occupational Special Populations Association (MOSPA), an award plaque, a certificate, and a letter of recognition. Merit winners will receive an award plaque, a certificate, and a letter of recognition. Recognition winners will receive a certificate and letter of recognition. 

Congratulations to the following student awardees in the Greater West Michigan Region!

Michigan Breaking Traditions 2021 Merit Award: 

Cody Veldhouse 
Allegan County Area Technical and Education Center, Hopkins High School
Health Care Science Foundations Program 

London Eldridge 
Montcalm Area Career Center, Central Montcalm High School  
Agriscience Program 

Chris Schaub 
Newaygo County Career-Tech Center, Tri-County High School 
Future Educators Program 

Hailey Jones 
Careerline Tech Center, Allendale High School  
Public Safety and Security Services Program

Michigan Breaking Traditions 2021 Certificate of Recognition: 

Hope Lambert 
Allegan County Area Technical and Education Center, Allegan High School 
Engineering Technologies Program 

Karley Way 
Allegan County Area Technical and Education Center, Allegan High School 
Engineering/Architectural Design Program 

Mia Ramos 
Kent Career Technical Center, Sparta High School  
Welding Technology Program 

Dayana Torees-Duran 
Kent Career Technical Center, Hope Academy  
Cooking and Related Culinary Arts Program 

Paige Ludwig 
Newaygo County Career-Tech Center, Tri-County High School 
Engineering Tech Program 

Cole Stone 
Montcalm Area Career Center, Carson City Crystal 
Health Program 

Ann Bogen 
Newaygo County Career-Tech Center, Fremont High School 
Automotive Program 

Bianca Rickert 
Newaygo County Career-Tech Center, Grant High School 
Agriscience Program 

Joshua Buckowing 
Newaygo County Career-Tech Center, Newaygo High School 
Business Applied Technology Program 

Amelia Goltz 
Newaygo County Career-Tech Center, Newaygo High School 
Culinary Art Program

Mayson Levandoski 
Careerline Tech Center, West Ottawa North High School 
Health Careers Phlebotomy Program

Liliana Rapp 
Careerline Tech Center, Zeeland West High School 
Mechatronics and Robotics Program 

Madelyn Rinkevicz 
Careerline Tech Center, Grand Haven High School 
Software and Game Development Program 

Career Exploration

Career awareness is an important component in solving the cyber workforce shortage. The nation currently does not have enough qualified cybersecurity employees to fill the 235,000 cybersecurity openings, but we can help fill the gap we can fill the gap starting with K-12 education. In addition to foundational and technical cybersecurity knowledge and skills, students need to know what careers are available to them as they shape their education.

Visit to browse Cyber Career Profiles and download a full set of their Career Profile Cards! Each card includes information on education requirements, an average salary, projected job growth over the next few years, recommended soft skills, and common job duties. 

In addition, the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) has developed a new tool, the Cyber Career Pathway Tool, for users to explore work roles within the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework. It depicts the Cyber Workforce according to five distinct, yet complementary skill communities, highlighting core attributes among each of the 52 work roles that offer actionable insights for employers, professionals, and those considering a career in cyber.

Girls4tech Initiative

The Girls4Tech Initiative is a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) program geared towards giving girls in middle and high school access to STEM resources and career exploration tools with an emphasis on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity.    

In partnership with Discovery Education, Girls4Tech now offers a robust array of no-cost, standards-aligned, and on-demand digital resources that illustrate how technology can be used to solve the problems young people care about. Included in these resources are career profiles featuring dynamic and diverse women cybersecurity professionals who fight hackers and help keep sensitive information safe on a global scale. The career profiles include activities and educator guides that inspire girls to dream big. In addition, this latest phase of partnership features digital lesson bundles focusing on the foundations and evolution of technology and binary code. Learn more about Girls4Tech at  

Equity Resources

Microsoft Anti-Racism Journey

Grounded in social and emotional learning (SEL) and curated by experts in the fields of equity and inclusion, restorative practices and education technology, the Microsoft Educator Center Anti-Racism Journey for Educators with Students includes individualized, self-directed learning on the topics of identity, bias, privilege, and fragility. Additionally, there are modules you can use with students. The learning path is also designed to be used within a professional learning community. 

Keith Hickman, Executive Director of Collective Impact for the International Institute for Restorative Practices, partnered with the team at Microsoft to weave a restorative ethos into the fabric of the Anti-Racism Journey. “The learning path helps educators honor each voice, providing a container for challenging and relevant conversations to happen with students, teachers, administrators, families, and the surrounding community".

Read the full article 

Anti-Racism Journey for Educators with Students

DARE tool from Learning Policy Institute

Decades of reforms have proven insufficient to address persistent racial disparities in educational opportunities. The Districts Advancing Racial Equity (DARE) tool brings together—in a uniquely broad and practical way—what is known about district actions that can support racial equity. The tool captures research-informed, high-leverage aspects of schooling that leaders must address in order to create systems that build on the strengths of and respond to the needs of students of color.  

International Women in Engineering Day on June 23

In celebration of International Women in Engineering Day on June 23, the National Girls Collaborative is spotlighting IF/THEN® resources featuring inspiring women engineers working in fields from nuclear to biomedical engineering. Here are some of their favorites: 

Save the Date: 2021 Equity Leaders Institute

Save the date for this upcoming online event:   September 23-24, 2021
Region III Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center’s 2021 Equity Leaders Institute (Re)claim, (Re)vitalize, (Re)imagine & (Re)commit: Centering Classroom Teachers in Anti-Oppressive Instruction

This Institute is designed to empower K-12 classroom teachers through the facilitation of anti-oppressive curriculum and instruction by: 

  • Creating space for collaborative learning across Region III partners. 
  • Strengthening relationships and building networks to support the practice of equitable educational practices. 
  • Facilitating participants’ planning and practicing anti-oppressive curriculum and instruction via an interactive workshop. 
  • Recognizing and celebrating the progress of a selected Center partner has made in advancing educational equity in their local settings.   

Organizations are invited to register in teams including curriculum administrator, instructional coaches, general and special education teachers, and teachers of English to speakers of other language (TESOL).  Teams should be no larger than five people.   Application coming soon! 

Closing the Digital Divide

Looking for more information on closing the Digital Divide in your District? What about families in your community? The following information will help you start exploring both the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) and the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) programs.

Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) 
The Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) is meant for schools, districts, and libraries to secure broadband internet connectivity through the purchase of hotspots, devices (tablets, laptops), certain hardware or to support monthly wireless access (DSL, wifi) that supports remote learning for PK-12 educational settings.    

Quick Facts 

  • Schools, School Districts, Local Libraries, etc., are eligible 
  • ECF provides reimbursements for the purchases of Devices (up to $400), Wireless Hotspots (up to $250) or monthly fees needed for Wireless connectivity (fee still TBD)   
  • Application window: July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022  
  • How to apply: Use your existing EPC Portal in E-Rate (i.e. - FCC Form 471)  
  • Total funds to be disbursed: $7.1 Billion to be distributed through the Federal E-Rate program 
  • What is not included: Desktop Computers, Smart Phones, Cybersecurity Solutions  
  • Retroactive reimbursements: Purchases of eligible items that are made prior to July 1, 2021 are not currently eligible for reimbursement  

Find out more:  

Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) 
The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) is meant for students and families in your community who are eligible to access temporary discounts on monthly broadband bills to support their home broadband needs directly through a provider.   

Quick Facts: 
If your household is eligible, you can receive: 

  • Up to a $50/month discount on your broadband service and associated equipment rentals 
  • Up to a $75/month discount if your household is on qualifying Tribal lands 
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50) 

Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail in application. You can learn more about the benefit, including eligibility and enrollment information, by visiting:, or by calling 833-511-0311. 


Career Connections

STEM Focus Can Make a Difference in Your Career

The need for a STEM-capable workforce has increased dramatically in recent years. According to the National Science Board, the number of U.S. jobs that require substantial STEM education has grown by nearly 34 percent in the last decade. More jobs than ever require at least a bachelor’s degree-level of STEM knowledge and experience, and millions of technical jobs need people who have STEM knowledge with or without a degree. 

 A career in science can span a variety of focus areas that extend beyond the perception that science is only conducted in a laboratory. Hear what a few scientists—from students to advanced researchers—say about how a focus in STEM has made a difference in their career. Visit Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education's Scientific Career Spotlights and learn more about how a career in STEM can launch a lifelong appreciation for learning! 

Michigan Agriculture Careers

From science and technology to communications and everything in between, agriculture has a career for you! 

Around 54,400 agriculture-related job openings are available annually for individuals with four-year and higher college degrees. This doesn't count the high demand for skilled trade professionals. 

Yet only 55 percent of these job openings are expected to be filled by graduates who earned degrees from colleges of agriculture, life sciences, natural resources, and veterinary medicine. 

Think agriculture and get a competitive advantage! Consider one of more than 250 careers across agriculture's diverse job sectors by watching the Think Agriculture AG Career Video Series. Watch more career videos on the "Think Agriculture" YouTube Channel

Michigan Farm Bureau is home to the Michigan Agriculture in the Classroom program, a part of the National Agriculture in the Classroom organization. Michigan Agriculture provides agricultural lessons, children's books, and agricultural fact brochures for teachers and farmer volunteers to teach across elementary and high school levels. Agricultural lessons align with Next Generation Science Standards or Common Core Standards and incorporate Michigan and U.S. agricultural facts. Don't forget to check out their Teacher Grants page where you will find funding available for teachers to increase agriculture-based learning in their classrooms.  

Green Careers

Interested in learning more about Green jobs? Green jobs are being created by an increased focus on environmentalism and are part of the growing green economy. Workers within the green economy focus on environmental work that curbs pollution, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, economizes on fossil fuels, and creates new renewable energy sources. The potential job market within the green economy will be a mix of rising analytical forward jobs and traditional mechanical skill-driven jobs and require specific skills. 
Click here to download the Infographic below: The New Job Market in the Green Economy 

Guide to Green Careers 
A Guide to Green Careers is a comprehensive guidebook that helps readers better understand exactly what lies ahead for job seekers in a renewable, sustainable and more efficient world. If you are interested in finding a career, an internship, a college or universities, industry trends, and industry associations in a GREEN Career - then this guidebook is for you! 

Green Jobs with the Most Projected Openings, 2019-2029 
Looking for a new job or considering a career change? Passionate about the environment? Check out the U.S. Department of Labor's nine jobs you should know about. Out of the earth-friendly occupations with green related job duties discussed directly in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, these are projected to have among the most openings in the coming decade. 

Scholarship for LEED Green Associate Accreditation 
The Builders Exchange of Michigan and USGBC West Michigan have established a scholarship fund that will assist West Michigan students pursuing LEED Green Associate accreditation. The fund will provide financial assistance covering related exam fees. Apply for the Sustainable Spotlight Scholarship.  

Careers in Construction

Are you creative, analytical, and enjoy solving problems? Do you enjoy designing and developing plans? Do you enjoy building things?  Visit the Michigan Construction Career website to help match your interests and skills with available careers, education, and training opportunities.  Careers listed include Construction Engineer and Design Engineer among many others. 

Michigan’s construction industry is one of the most diverse and interesting, especially for people who love being able to watch the actual fruits of their labors grow before their eyes. Whether your interests lie in the design, the on-site management or the hands-on work, construction offers so many job and career options, there really is something for almost everyone. Explore Michigan Construction's high level look at construction like job subsectorssalarieswomen in constructionprofiles of women in constructionconstruction industry sectors, and construction going digital in Michigan.  

Construction Workforce Development and Labor Data:

Science Thursdays with Brookhaven National Laboratory

Students, educators, and science enthusiasts are invited to join Brookhaven National Lab on the third Thursday of each month for Science Thursdays. Virtually meet a lab scientist, ask questions about their research during the live Q&A, and learn about potential career paths. 

Science Thursdays
Check out the April episode: 

Engineering with Kayla Hernandez , April 15, 2021 
Kayla Hernandez, an electrical engineer at Brookhaven Lab, discusses engineering and potential career paths for science enthusiasts in this installment of the Lab's Science Thursdays. 
Science Thursdays: Engineering with Kayla Hernandez
U.S. Intelligence Careers

With tens of thousands of employees worldwide, the U. S. Intelligence Careers (IC) provides dynamic careers to talented professionals in almost every career category. Explore the career categories for brief job descriptions, applicable education and experience, as well as sample jobs from individual agencies. Some of the categories included: 

  • Computer Science 
  • Cyber 
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences 
  • Mathematical Sciences 
  • Intelligence Analysis 

Browse videos and resources to learn more about individual agencies and how they collaborate daily to give U.S. decision makers the information they need when they need it. Whether the data is collected from the global skies or on foreign ground, the IC brings it all together to report current world events and predict future adversary action.  

The IC offers students a wide variety of excellent programs to get a jumpstart on a career in intelligence. Choose your agency, education level, field of study and the type of opportunity you’re looking for to match your needs to IC needs. Visit IC's student program page and start exploring!  

Who is the IC?
Educator Resources and Professional Learning

Math Recovery Add+VantageMR® Course 2 in August

Add+VantageMR® Course 2 extends the learning from AVMR Course 1, adding dynamic, diagnostic assessments of multiplication and division strategies and place value understanding. The assessments, data collection, and teaching tools accelerate the ability of educators to recognize students' current levels of numeracy understanding in order to inform data-driven instructional decisions.  

  • WHO: 1st-5th classroom, special education, and intervention teachers 
  • WHAT: 8 two hour virtual sessions 
  • WHEN: Beginning August 3rd,  2021 
  • COST: Free - MiSTEM grant awarded by MDE 
  • Registration link - Registration ends June 22, 2021 

MCTM Virtual Conference in July

Interested in attending the Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) conference? Register here

This year’s conference is July 27-28, 2021 and will provide sessions and experiences in four strands

  • Effective Teaching Practices
  • Building Knowledge for Teaching
  • Teachers as Leaders & Change Agents
  • Creating Inclusive Spaces & Promoting Social Justice 

For more details and information, visit the 2021 Virtual Conference site. 

Summer Modeling Workshops

Time is running out to apply for the Summer Modeling Instruction Workshops! 

Instead of relying on lectures and textbooks, the Modeling Instruction program emphasizes active student construction of conceptual and mathematical models in an interactive learning community. Students are engaged with simple scenarios to learn to model the physical world. 

Stipends will be given for participation.  Visit the Michigan Modeling website for details.  Applications will be accepted until the classes are full. 

Classes will be held across the state.  West Michigan sites include Kent County. 

​​Modeling in High School Physical Science 
Dates: June 21 - July 9, 2021 (not July 4) 
Time: 8 AM – 4 PM 
Location: Northview H.S., Grand Rapids 
Regional PD for Science Educators

Still looking for a grasp of the vision for the science standards? If you are an educator in MiSTEM Network's Greater West Michigan Region (#8) or Southwest Region (#1) and you haven't taken NGSX, join this Fall, virtually!

  • August 3-5, 2021
    • 9 a.m.-12 p.m. 
  • August 10-12, 2021
    • 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • August 16, 2021
    • 5 p.m.-8 p.m.
  • September 20, 2021
    • 5 p.m.-8 p.m. 
Click here to register.

inquiryHuB Chemistry 
The inquiryHub (iHub) Chemistry curriculum is a full-year high school Chemistry course anchored in phenomena and aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. Join the Professional learning for iHub High School Chemistry with Integrated Earth!

  • August 9-10, 2021
  • In person at Kent ISD!

Click here to register.

For questions, contact Wendi Vogel at

Leap into Science Integrates Open-ended Science Activities with Children's Books

Leap into Science integrates open-ended science activities with children's books, designed for children ages 3-10 and their families. Educators are empowered to offer workshops in community settings like libraries, museums, and out-of-school time programs to engage underserved audiences in accessible and familiar settings. 

National Girls Collaborative Project is a proud partner of The Franklin Institute and the Institute for Learning Innovation on the Leap into Science initiative with support from the National Science Foundation.  A new cohort of states recently joining the Leap into Science National Network, which include: Alaska, Michigan, Montana, and New Mexico. The Michigan State Leadership Team includes the Michigan Afterschool Partnership, Library of Michigan, and Detroit Zoological Society. 

Free Resources for Teaching How Science Works

How does science know what it knows? What if scientific studies disagree? Can I use science to make decisions? 

These are tricky questions. Answering them just got easier with Decoding Science

Here’s what you’ll find at Decoding Science:  

  • A 90-second explainer video on how science works 
  • Clear answers to challenging questions 
  • Stories from real-life scientists 
  • A quiz to test students’ learning 

It’s all vetted by experts and ready to use in your classroom today. Check it out and forward to a friend!  

Science educators, thank you for all you do to inspire the next generation of citizens and scientists. 


MICIP Professional Learning Update 
Muskegon Area ISD and MDE recently collaborated on a four-part series walking attendees through the components of the MICIP platform, including providing examples of each part of the process. Each week also included an additional focus presentation on a specific related topic.  

All recorded presentations as well as supporting materials are on the MICIP website under MICIP Resources, Resources from the Field, Guides/Tools, and MICIP Collaboration Series Resources

Thanks to:  

  • David Hundt from Muskegon Area ISD for coordinating and presenting this series  
  • Frank Holes (Allegan Education Service Agency)  
  • Hilda Irani (Dearborn Public Schools)  
  • Mike Fine (Ottawa Area ISD) for their support 

Thanks also to Muskegon Area ISD for their technical support!  

Equity Resources Supporting MICIP 
The Region III Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center directed by Dr. Seena Skelton has worked closely with MDE in addressing how continuous improvement can be used to tackle issues of equity.  Save the date - the Center is hosting the 2021 Equity Leaders Institute on September 23-24, 2021.   

What is MiStrategyBank?
MiStrategyBank is an electronic clearinghouse of strategies designed to connect educational data systems, promote and support best practices, and provide information regarding the implementation of strategies in use to support Michigan’s education system. This application is being used by MICIP to integrate the strategy selection process within the MICIP platform.  

The MiSTEM Network has added multiple strategies to the MiStrategyBank including: 

  • Computer Science Fundamentals ( 
  • Cereal City Science 
  • Modeling Instruction in Michigan for Secondary Science 
  • Computer Science Discoveries 
  • Computer Science Principles 
  • Camp Invention 
  • Math Recovery (Multiple Records) 
  • Imagine Math (PreK- 2nd Grade) 
  • Robotics Engineering & Competition Foundation 
  • GLSI (Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative) 
  • Engineering is Elementary 
  • TEN80 (National STEM League NSL) 
  • NGSX 
  • STEM Equity Pipeline 
  • Project Lead The Way (Multiple Records) 
  • FIRST Robotics 
  • Mi-STAR (Michigan Science Teaching and Assessment Reform) 
  • Phenomenal Science 

If you need support navigating the system, reach out to your ISD and the MiStrategyBank ISD lead or review the documentation and “how-to” documents that are available.  

National WWII Museum’s Real World Science Virtual Summer Seminar 

This year’s Real World Science Summer Teacher Seminar from the National WWII Museum will be open to ANY teacher of 5th-8th grade science, and will be VIRTUAL. From July 12-16, 2021 we will host synchronous events daily, and release asynchronous videos and content in our virtual classroom daily. 

Participants will learn how to use the Real World Science curriculum (updated in 2021 with new material) and best practices in science education. Our goal is to make science education equitable and accessible, so that ALL STUDENTS can learn to solve today’s problems like STEM professionals did during WWII. We will discuss Physical, Earth, and Life Sciences and Engineering, and learn how to integrate literacy practices and social studies into science investigations with students. 

We will have synchronous virtual meetings with members of past cohorts, so you can ask questions about implementation, success stories, and other professional development opportunities. The Real World Science cohorts of 2015-1019 are filled with amazing teachers who would love to share their experiences, and this is a great chance for you to add to your Professional Learning Network. 

Join the Google Classroom here.
Get more information here

Virtual Field Trips 
Modern Egg Farms

The American Egg Board has partnered with Discovery Education to bring modern egg farms into today’s classrooms through Virtual Egg Farm Field Trips. Farmers share their sustainable practices, how robots work on egg farms, and what keeps their generations-old operations going. Join America’s egg farmers in exploring their farms! Visit The Incredible Egg site and explore virtual field trips, meet a farmer, lessons, activities, games, and cooking videos for grades K-12.

Recycling Center and Modern Landfill Virtual Tours
Take your students on a field trip of how a recycling center and a modern landfill works without leaving your classroom! Explore virtual field trip videos that are designed to inform specific lessons in 3rd-5th grade, 6th-8th grade and 9th-12th grade, but can also be used outside of those lessons to take your students on a journey through the recycling process. Lessons are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Get expert tips, at-home learning activities, and additional resources from Republic Services.
Recycling Simplified Teacher Overview Grades 6-8
Resources for Families and Students
KENT ISD Summer Brain Gain is Back

Hundreds of educational options for classes, camps, and learning connections are being offered for students at all grade levels again this summer as Kent ISD brings back Summer Brain Gain in 2021.  After a year of multiple approaches to teaching, educators from school districts across Kent ISD are collaborating with partner organizations to keep learning going all summer for all students with many options free of charge. 

Kent ISD’s Summer Brain Gain is a program that provides online learning, educational resources, and printable packets for students in grade K-12 in Kent County and Thornapple Kellogg Schools. 

Registration for instructor-led courses is available by grade level for all public, private, and homeschooled students starting June 1.  Courses are available to view now: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12. So parents and their children can start thinking about what courses they want to attend this summer and prepare for registration to open on June 1st.  These two-week courses in math, mindfulness, phonics, literacy, STEM, technology, SAT prep, and many more topics will begin on July 12, 2021 with the second session starting on July 26, 2021

In addition to courses, Summer Brain Gain offers students connections to vetted online apps, resources and links to learning that children and teens can engage in. Summer Brain Gain also links students and families to educational offerings by area cultural and community organizations who are School News Network Education Everywhere partners such as John Ball Zoo, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Van Andel Institute, Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, and more. 

Printable packets and links to Kent ISD’s Summer Brain Gain program are available through partnerships with Kent District Library, Grand Rapids Public Library, and Literacy Center of West Michigan.  Packets can be ordered for printing and picked up at library locations throughout Grand Rapids and Kent County starting in June.  

Please help us spread the word about this amazing opportunity for your students. Here is a flyer that you can share with your class and community. Click here to download the flyer and share today! 

Audubon Adventures

Audubon Adventures is for young nature-lovers and explores the fundamental principles by which the natural world functions! This website offers an exciting, science-based exploration of those principles at work anchored in nonfiction reading and outdoor and classroom activities that help kids to care for our planet by helping birds and other wildlife. 

These activities can be done at home or in a yard or park, sometimes with the help of a computer. The goal isn’t to teach a child how to name and identify bird species, but rather to give them space to explore and feel connected to the natural world. If you’re a parent or caretaker, that means you don’t need to worry about your own knowledge of birds or plants. All you need to be is a companion to your child’s curiosity. 

Explore student activities, puzzles, games, coloring pages, and art lessons, guides, apps, posters, videos and more!  

Don't miss this free The Audubon Bird Guide App, a complete field guide to more than 800 species of North American birds, right in your pocket. 

Six Ideas for a Summer of STEM
The Million The Girls Moonshot: Six Ideas for a Summer of STEM website details six ways to introduce and expand STEM opportunities for girls to re-imagine summer STEM learning opportunities, push back against gender stereotypes, and positively influence the way girls are supported in STEM. 
Fun ways to Maintain Math Skills with Black Girl MATHgic

Is your family getting ready for the long leisure days of summer? ⛱ 🎢 🛶 

Summer is indeed the time to feel the grass between your toes, the wind in your hair, and to take a much needed break from the structure of school and academics. 

But that doesn't mean learning should turn off completely during the summer months or that it can't be fun.   

You can totally prevent your girl losing hard-earned gains in math and arriving back at school this fall much worse off in the subject than when she finishes this spring with some simple steps: 

  1. Keep up her zeal for mathematics by incorporating and discussing concepts as a part of everyday events such as planning the family vacation, shopping for back-to-school supplies, playing math games, or setting up a front-yard lemonade stand. These all build number sense and math confidence and integrate math into real-world experiences. 
  2. Keep her engaged in learning through visits to museums, cultural events, and enriching programs. 
  3. Ensure she reads every day for at least 30 minutes. Reading stimulates and strengthens your girl's language, vocabulary, and literacy skills as well as improves her memory, focus, concentration, and analytical skills. 
  4. Review some of the activities and manipulatives from past Black Girl MATHgic boxes. Complete (or redo) the math problems and innovate different uses for the manipulatives. Be sure to review the Caring Adult Guide and What's Inside Guide to understand how to have the most optimal experience with your box which includes an Answer & Explanation Key. 
  5. Start - or continue - your Black Girl MATHgic subscription throughout the summer and beyond. This subscription intentionally keeps real-world math problems and skills at the forefront. Every month, Brittany Rhodes and her team at Black Girl MATHgic curate a themed and engaging math experience especially for your girl designed to motivate and keep her excited about math while decreasing her math anxiety.  

This summer, your Black Girl MATHgic box will have some really fun themes including: 

  • Math + Traveling   
  • Math + Music  
  • Math + Art!  

Yep, math literally pairs with everything. 

Brittany Rhodes is founder and General MATHager of Black Girl MATHgic™, the maker of the first and only monthly subscription box curated to increase math confidence and decrease math anxiety in girls on a 3rd-8th grade math level. Each box is curated specifically for black girls because they endure unique struggles as a doubly marginalized group and sit at the intersection of wide racial and gender gaps in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. However, we serve girls (and boys) of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, as they benefit from the math confidence the Black Girl MATHgic Box offers while also learning more about black history, which is American history. For more information about Black Girl MATHgic, visit their website
Discovery Education Family Resources for Accelerated Summer Learning

To accelerate student learning and ignite their natural curiosity, Discovery Education presents parents and guardians an array of no-cost dynamic digital resources for the summer. This selection of content, created in partnership with leading corporate and community partners, inspires families to learn together by exploring the world around them during the summer break. 

STEM Activities  
From traveling the world to recycling water and cans, families can dive into the wide world of STEM and sustainability with K-12 activities from the STEM Careers Coalition – the first-of-its-kind national STEM initiative powered by corporate leaders and anchored in schools by Discovery Education.  

Empower middle school students with the key components of computational thinking and gain a deeper understanding of problem-solving skills with these exciting, collaborative, and challenging activities from Ignite My Future in School, an educational partnership with Tata Consultancy Services.  

Financial Literacy Resources  
Get the entire family involved in creating a strong financial future with resources from Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids. Designed with Jackson Charitable Foundation for family fun, these activities and engaging videos for K-6 students are informal learning opportunities that provide the tools and knowledge for kids to grow up to be money smart.  

Social-Emotional Learning and Social Awareness Resources  
Explore how to leverage the power of story to teach middle and high school students about perseverance, resilience, and testimony through artistic expression using activities from Teaching with Testimony and The Willesden Project created in partnership with USC Shoah Foundation.  

Build body and social confidence together through resources from Amazing Me – an initiative from Dove Self-Esteem Project and Discovery Education. Amazing Me delivers the best in social-emotional learning (SEL), health, and confidence-building content for students in grades 4-5.   

Register for Future City!

Future City is a project-based learning program where students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future. 

This season Future City challenges 6th, 7th & 8th grade students to design a waste-free city using the principles of a circular economy. 

What's a circular economy? It's a sustainability approach based on nature's circular system and the idea of designing waste out of the production process.  Learn More Here!  

Student teams work with their educator and STEM mentor to create their competition deliverables:  

  • Essay: 1,500 words to describe your city. 
  • Model: Get creative and build one big model or produce multiple segments to show off your city. 
  • Project Plan: Stay organized and on top of all of the details.  
  • Presentation Video: Share your city in a short video. Check out our first ever blooper reel from last year's teams. 
  • City Q&A: Impress the judges with your team's amazing city!  

*It's too early to confirm if regionals will be in-person or virtual - stay tuned!  

Sign up for Future City and get: 

  • Step-by-step program guide available in early August 
  • Free student and educator webinars 
  • Background materials and activities 
  • Detailed rubrics 
  • Award opportunities and recognition for competing teams 
  • New registration and educator dashboard rolling out in 2021 

Wondering how much it costs? It's just $25.00 per school or program.  

Sign Up Today 

Purple Plow H2 Grow Challenge

We need food to survive. But food security is a problem around the world, and at home. Get creative as you design a sustainable living environment for aquatic life while growing food in this season’s H2 Grow Challenge

Students locally can contribute to the impact problems of population growth, access to resources, limited space for growing food, and year-round plant-based food production. After thoughtful research to evaluate how these challenges exist globally and locally, students will design, build, and utilize a growing structure that can be used in their unique location or situation to help maximize the availability and access of food given the extensive growth in population and limitations of space. The final product will be a functioning aquaponics system. 

Entries must be submitted by July 31, 2021 
Purple Plow Challenge General Guide 
H2 Grow Challenge Guide 
Student Guide 
Content Packet 

H2 Grow
goIT Monthly Challenge

The goIT Monthly Challenge is a recurring opportunity for classrooms to directly engage in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the goIT digital innovation. 

For June’s goIT Monthly Challenge, Tata Consultancy Services is partnering with Konglomerate Games to inspire students ages 7-17 to create a digital upgrade to a product or service that improves people’s lives and aligns with United Nations SDG9.  

To get started: 

  • Register for this month’s goIT Monthly Challenge. 
  • Identify a problem related to this month's SDG. 
  • Think of a tech-based solution. 
  • Design a prototype, either on paper or online. 
  • Create a 3-minute video pitch for your innovative idea. 
  • Submit your video on this website by June 30, 2021
Naval Horizons Essay Contest

Naval Horizons introduces students to cutting-edge Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) topics that impact the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps – to include autonomy, oceanography, cybersecurity, undersea medicine, and more. Students are invited to learn about Naval STEM challenges and their scientists and engineers through this video series. Then, students are encouraged to write an essay explaining how the research and their people inspire them. This contest challenges students to picture themselves in a STEM career by designing the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps of the future. 

All winners will receive a $200 cash prize. Exceptional essays will be highlighted on a Naval STEM web page and will be designated Naval Horizons Highest Honors. 

Naval STEM will only accept entries submitted by July 30, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. ET. 

This essay contest is open to legal residents of the United States (U.S.) who are registered students in grades 9–12 and attending public, private, or home school in the U.S. (including U.S. territories or possessions and schools operated by the U.S. for the children of American personnel overseas). 

  • 12th grade students who graduate in Spring 2021 are eligible to apply 
  • Fall 2021 rising 9th graders are not eligible to apply 

A parent or adult caregiver must submit entries from students under the age of 18

For more information and how to apply visit Naval Horizons here.  

College Board Scholarships

The College Board Opportunity Scholarships offer nearly $5 million each year to reward your efforts to plan and pay for college. The program is currently open to the class of 2022

Students in the class of 2022 who explore scholarships in College Board Scholarship Search can earn a chance at a $500 scholarship. That’s right: by discovering your own list of other scholarships, personalized for you, you’ll qualify for an Opportunity Scholarship.  

College Board will award 100 Opportunity Scholarships every month from July 2021 through February 2022 to students who complete this step to explore scholarships.  

Apply today for $1,500 Michigan Skills Scholarship

The Michigan Skills Scholarship program is open for applications! The Skills Scholarship provides up to $1,500 to help cover tuition at a private training school or program for adults 25 years or older through the Michigan Reconnect program. The program also offers certificates in high-demand careers in industries such as manufacturing, construction, information technology, healthcare or business management. 

Scholarships will be granted on a first-come, first-serve basis to the first 1,000 applicants who enroll with an eligible training provider. Be sure to complete the following steps so you don’t miss out! 

Once you apply to a qualified training program and have been accepted, the training school or provider you have been accepted to will notify the state. To retain your scholarship, you must be accepted into the program you wish to attend and begin classes in 2021. 

If you have any questions, contact the Michigan Skills Scholarship help desk at 223-221-0327 or

Workforce Development
Lakeshore Advantage Receives Grant for Industry 4.0 Readiness

Lakeshore Advantage, the local economic development organization that assists employers with growth opportunities in Ottawa and Allegan counties, received $92,787 in grant funding to increase manufacturers’ Industry 4.0 technology adoption readiness. Implementing Industry 4.0 technologies into operations helps manufacturers by creating opportunities for improved efficiency, higher revenues, and increased innovation. 

Industry 4.0 is defined as the convergence of digital and physical technologies, including artificial intelligence, 3D printing, robotics, augmented and virtual reality, the Cloud and cybersecurity. Approximately 42 percent of Michigan’s current labor force could be negatively impacted by automation, and with MEDC’s strategic focus on retaining companies and fostering high-wage skills growth in target industries such as Advanced Manufacturing, there is a strong need for a multipronged effort to ensure Michigan’s small to medium-sized manufacturers adopt Industry 4.0 technologies. 

These grants build on the overall MEDC Industry 4.0 initiative, which includes efforts to drive awareness statewide on the importance of Industry 4.0 readiness and technical support to help small- to medium-sized manufacturers adopt Industry 4.0 technologies through a partnership with Automation Alley and the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center 

Learn more at

West Michigan Employers Need Skilled Trades Workers

Skilled trades opportunities exist in multiple industries like information technology and health care, as well as more traditional fields like construction and manufacturing. Here are three steps to help you learn a skill and start your career in a professional trade! 

  • 500,000+ skilled trades jobs expected in Michigan by 2024 
  • 45% higher wages compared to all other occupations 
  • 50% faster job growth than the statewide average by 2024 

Find training opportunities! 
Check out this list of occupations that are in-demand, expected to grow AND eligible for West Michigan Works! training scholarships. 

Get a satisfying career! 
Use the O*Net Interest Profiler to decide what kinds of careers you might want to explore based on your interests. 

Meet a career coach! 
Work with a career coach to: 

  • evaluate your skills & interests, 
  • explore training opportunities & scholarships
  • and connect to employers who are hiring

If you want to discuss your options, West Michigan Works! can help!  

West Michigan Works! offers a variety of free events to help you take your next step to a new career. Whether you are looking to sharpen your interview skills or meet an employer who is hiring, they have options for you! Find a Career Exploration workshop or event near you by selecting your county on their calendar page.  

Explore Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, portable, and nationally-recognized credential. It includes: 

  • Paid Job - Apprentices are paid employees who produce high-quality work while they learn skills that enhance their employers' needs. 
  • On-the-Job Learning- Develops skilled workers through structured learning in a work setting. 
  • Classroom Learning - Improves job-related skills through education in a classroom setting (virtual or in-person). 
  • Mentorship - Provides apprentices with the support of a skilled worker to assist and enhance critical hands-on learning. 
  • Credentials - Offers a portable, nationally-recognized credential to be issued at the completion of the program 

Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) is a proven model of apprenticeship that has been validated by the U.S. Department of Labor or a State Apprenticeship Agency. 

RAPs enable and energize more employers to participate and provide them access to larger talent pools that have been trained for entry-level to management positions, thereby meeting industry demands and reducing unemployment rates across the country.  

In addition to the benefits of apprenticeship, RAPs offer several other incentives for employers of all sizes. Visit to explore the wide range of apprenticeship industries to learn more about high-demand occupations and success stories of companies that are leveraging apprenticeships to access valuable resources. There are multiple ways to participate in a Registered Apprenticeship Program. The two most common ways to build a program include creating your very own program or joining an existing program by working with a current program sponsor. Use these links to learn more about on how to create a program or join a program.  

Quick Start Toolkit 
Developed by the U. S. Department of Labor, this Quick-Start Toolkit: Building Registered Apprenticeship Programs provides helpful steps and resources to start and register an apprenticeship program, from exploring the apprenticeship model as a workforce strategy to launching a new program. Whether you’re a business or labor organization, an industry association or another kind of workforce intermediary, a community college or the public workforce system, or a community-based or service organization, you will find useful information and tools the help you get started.

Additional Resources 
Have a career path or location in mind? Check out the Apprenticeship Job Finder and search open apprenticeship job opportunities from employers across the country.  

Visit the Apprenticeship Resource Hub where you will find case studies, videos, guides and fact sheets, research and marketing materials. Here you will find the Federal Resources Playbook for Registered ApprenticeshipsWomen in Apprenticeship Fact SheetPeople with Disabilities Apprenticeship Fact Sheet, tools for Youth in Apprenticeships, and much more!  

The Pre-Apprenticeship Program is a set of strategies designed to prepare individuals to enter and succeed in a Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP). Quality pre-apprenticeship programs can play a valuable role in providing work-based learning to help people prepare for an entry-level RAP. To learn more about this strategy, visit and explore the U.S. Department of Labor's Pre-Apprenticeship Program.  

Visit the Michigan Registered Apprenticeship Dashboard to explore data for statewide, regional, and industry and occupational apprenticeships.  

Download this Apprenticeship Fact Sheet.

The Going PRO Talent Fund (Talent Fund) makes awards to employers to assist in training, developing and retaining current and newly hired employees. Training funded by the Talent Fund must be short-term and fill a demonstrated talent need experienced by the employer. Training must lead to a credential for a skill that is transferable and recognized by industry. The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity - Workforce Development awards funds to employers through Michigan's workforce system, commonly known as Michigan Works! Agencies (MWA). MWA Business Services staff conduct fact-finding sessions with employers to assess their talent skill gaps, suitable training providers, and availability of federal funding sources. To learn more about this opportunity, please visit the Labor and Economic Opportunity's Going PRO Talent Fund.  

Michigan Advanced Technician Training Program (MAT2) is an innovative, industry-driven approach to education. Developed in conjunction with global industry technology leaders to combine theory, practice and work to train a globally competitive workforce, MAT² addresses two critical issues facing the manufacturing and technology industries: a widening skills gap and an aging workforce. This is an apprenticeship program where students alternate between classroom instruction and on-the-job training, gaining the necessary hands-on skills and real-world experiences for them to become a successful and productive member of the skilled workforce. 

ACE Mentor Program

High school students in the Grand Rapids area can now benefit from a nationwide program designed to introduce them to the wide range of career opportunities open to young people in architecture, construction, engineering, and related areas of the building design and construction industry. Founded in 1994, the ACE Mentor Program of America (Architecture, Construction, & Engineering), is a free, award-winning, afterschool program designed to attract high school students into pursuing careers in the Architecture, Construction, and Engineering industries, including skilled trades.  

For students, it’s a unique chance to discover and develop new skills, solidify future goals and get on track to exciting, rewarding careers. In addition, many students form positive relationships with industry professionals who can provide important references for obtaining college admissions, scholarships, internships, and full-time employment. 

Registration is open for the ACE Mentor Program of West Michigan! Visit the ACE Mentor Program for West Michigan to register as a student or as a mentor.  

Contact Information

Ginger Rohwer
Regional Director
(616) 331-2272

Diane Miller
Business, Community, and Education Liaison
(616) 331-2265

Services provided through a MiSTEM grant awarded by the Michigan Department of Education.
To subscribe to this newsletter, click
If you no longer wish to receive emails from the GWM MiSTEM Region, click here.

Copyright © 2021 GWM MiSTEM Region, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp