March STEM Newsletter

STEM Newsletter Header

STEM Education Updates from the U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education (ED or the Department) aims to help STEM teachers, in and out of the classroom, and other supportive stakeholders.  The Department hopes this STEM newsletter will serve as constant source of opportunity, inspiration, and resources.  The Department also maintains resources on its STEM landing page, including funding opportunities and archives of monthly STEM briefings. You can manage your subscription and are encouraged to invite your colleagues and friends to sign up as well!   

The Department welcomes your feedback and questions. Please feel free to share them at

ED Updates

* COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel Health officials are currently taking steps to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) into communities across the United States. Schools can play an important role in this effort through collaboration and coordination with state and local health departments.  State and local educational agencies, education officials, and schools can play a role in disseminating critical information about the disease and its potential transmission to students, families, staff, and community, should the need arise.

The Department recently launched a COVID-19 (Coronavirus) information and resources web page ( for schools and school personnel.  This page, which will be regularly updated, features the most current information on COVID-19 (primarily from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]), as well as guidance and resources for everyday disease prevention strategies.  Any questions for the Department may be directed to

On March 12, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos issued new resources that will assist education leaders in protecting student privacy and ensuring students with disabilities continue to receive services required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in the event of school closures due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The Education Department also released important information for K-12 educators on flexibilities the Department could grant when it comes to the accountability standards required by law under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

The CDC has issued interim guidance to help K-12 schools and childcare programs plan for and prevent the spread of COVID-19 among students and staff. See Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Childcare Programs and K-12 Schools to Plan, Prepare, and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 available at:

Additional guidance will be announced in the coming days and posted at

For more information about the Coronavirus, please visit:

Administration Leadership Visit Schools During CTE Month

Secretary Betsy DeVos and Deputy Secretary Mick Zais visited Career and Technical Education (CTE) schools in Tennessee and Texas and met with students preparing for a wide array of technical careers and some of the inspiring educators training those students for future success.

CTE Month

ED Grant Opportunities

The Department plans to issue several competitions to support the preparation and upskilling of teachers, including STEM educators. View currently open grant opportunities and our Fiscal Year 2020 ED grant forecast to find out more.

STEM Briefing: Early Math, March 26, 2pm ET

Early exposure to math instruction can lead to success in STEM.  Join the Department during its next STEM briefing featuring leading researchers and funders about best practices in providing authentic, joyful, and productive early mathematics instruction for learners of all abilities.  If you can join us in-person at the Department in DC, RSVP to For those who cannot join us in person, we will be live streaming and archiving the event.

Attract, Prepare, Retain Effective Educators Summit

The Department’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) will livestream its “Attract, Prepare, and Retain: OSEP National Summit on Improving Effective Personnel for Children with Disabilities” on March 19 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. ET. Details related to live stream access will be available closer to the summit date. 

Call for Peer Reviewers

The Department is seeking peer reviewers for our Fiscal Year 2020 competitive/discretionary grant season, including in the STEM/CS areas (among others).  You can read our Federal Register notice and learn how to be considered as a reviewer.

New Title IVA Report

The Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grant program, under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, supports a wide range of state and local activities to promote well-rounded educational opportunities, safe and healthy students, and effective use of technology. States may reserve up to 5 percent of their funds for state-level activities in these areas, including no more than 1 percent for administrative costs.  How are states using Title IV, Part A funds reserved at the state level to support school districts in meeting the program’s three main purposes — well-rounded educational opportunities, safe and healthy students, and effective use of technology?  Find out in this Title IVA report.

Regional Digital Equity Summits

ED’s Office of Educational Technology (OET) will host a series of Regional Digital Equity Summits in Spring/Summer 2020 that will bring together state and local education leaders and community collaborators to identify strategies, connect with resources, and explore opportunities to address local digital equity challenges of broadband access, affordability, and use for students at school and home. The Summits are FREE to attend and will take place in Alaska, California, Illinois, Montana, Pennsylvania, and Texas. As new information becomes available, we will update OET Summit website.

ED Teacher Opportunities and Resources

  • School Ambassador Fellowship Program – Enables outstanding teachers, principals, and other school leaders to bring their school and classroom expertise to the Department and to expand their knowledge of the national dialogue about education. Next application period opens in Fall 2020.
  • Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award – This award is bestowed by the United States Secretary of Education (Secretary) on educators in the field of cybersecurity to honor their contribution to the education of our nation’s students. The award is presented annually to two educators—one at the elementary level and one at the secondary level—who demonstrate superior achievement in instilling skills, knowledge, and passion with respect to cybersecurity and cybersecurity-related subjects. Awardees for the inaugural year will be recognized during Teacher Appreciation Week in May 2020. The Department anticipates that the nomination period for 2021 will open in fall 2020.
  • K-12 Practitioners’ Circle – Is a searchable database of statistical information and resources specifically for K-12 teachers, administrators, librarians, parents, and students.
  • Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Tools for STEM Educators – STEM initiatives at IES advance the study and implementation of effective instructional practices and track improvement in student learning, including the What Works Clearinghouse and Practice Guides for teaching STEM.
  • CTE Cyber Camps – The Department’s Office of Career, Adult and Technical Education (OCTAE) will soon offer cyber education professional development opportunities for teachers. Stay tuned for more information.
  • STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education (STEMIE)— An ED-funded knowledge development center out of the Department’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services that is working to identify evidence-based practices to promote STEM learning with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with disabilities.
  • STEM Innovation Spotlights – Technology can be a powerful tool to transform STEM learning. To help school and district staff implement new, research-based approaches for using technology effectively in STEM learning, the Office of Educational Technology, in partnership with Digital Promise, conducted a systematic review of the research literature on the impact of integrating innovative digital technology in STEM and computer science curricula and classrooms. We used the resulting research synthesis to identify 10 school sites that are “spotlighted” in short videos to help teachers, curriculum specialists and other school and district staff learn about effective uses of technology for deepening students’ STEM experiences.
  • Pathways to STEM Apprenticeship for High School Career and Technical Education (CTE) Students – Much has been written in recent years about the need to provide greater work-based learning opportunities for high school students as an instructional strategy to better prepare students for college and the workforce. The “Pathways” demonstration program was designed to expand and improve the transition of high school CTE Students to postsecondary education and employment through apprenticeships in STEM fields, including Computer Science.
  • Stackable credentials that lead to careers – Stackable credentials focus career and technical education programs on building the critical skills needed for students to advance in growing sectors of the economy. If you’re an educator interested in this space, click on the link above.
  • College Scorecard – Educators can play a key role in empowering students and parents with knowledge about options for students after high school. The College Scorecard recently was updated with more actionable information needed to make personalized education decisions.  Click on the link above to find out about colleges, degree programs, costs, admissions, results, and more and consider sharing this resource. 

Other Federal Resources & Opportunities

Inclusive STEAM Practices Webinar: Tuesday, March 17, 3–4 p.m. ET

The National Center for Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services presents this webinar to share ways to support young children with identified disabilities or suspected delays as they acquire science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) skills. Examine effective teaching practices to help them access and explore STEAM materials and concepts. Discover practical strategies to plan the learning environment and embed individualized learning opportunities related to STEAM. Register Online

National Science Foundation CS for All Grant Due April 13

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced their Computer Science (CS) for All solicitation (Research and Research-Practitioner Partnerships) is now open for stakeholders to apply. The full proposal is due on April 13.  Review the application to learn more. 

Presidential Awards for K-6 STEM Teachers

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching (PAESMT) applications are open and due May 1, 2020.  This is the nation's highest honor for teachers of STEM, including computer science, and includes numerous benefits.

Presidential Awards for STEM Mentors

NSF just released a printable brochure for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM).  Please consider recommending a colleague or nominating yourself for the PAESMEM award.

Collection of Teacher STEM Resources

NSF collected STEM educational resources from a variety of federal agencies for the PAESMT awardees, which are useful to STEM educators across the educational spectrum.

Department of Energy Education Newsletter

STEM Rising

Interested in STEM news from the Department of Energy? Subscribe to the STEM Rising newsletter, bringing you a monthly update on the latest STEM opportunities and resources. Questions? Contact

External Opportunities, Reports & Resources

Teaching K-12 Engineering Report

The National Academy of Engineering and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) recently issued a new report, Building Capacity for Teaching Engineering in K-12 Education.  Key topics in this report include the preparation of K-12 engineering educators, professional pathways for K-12 engineering educators, and the role of higher education in preparing engineering educators.  

Teacher Survey with Benefits Closes March 27

Harvard University’s LabXchange is a new, free online platform for science education designed to support differentiated, personalized learning -- take an online tour. They are seeking input from teachers to ensure the platform supports the needs of educators and students.  See short survey.

Despite the Odds: Young Women Who Persist in Engineering

What are the common factors that motivate girls to pursue—and then persist—in engineering education and careers? This comprehensive literature review by DiscoverE was conducted in partnership with Concord Evaluation Group. This report will help inform work to engage students in engineering and help them succeed in the field.  

2019 Trends Report and Predictions that will Define STEM in 2020

This annual 100Kin10 trends report includes a mix of trends from 2019 and 10 predictions for 2020, each with actionable exemplars from organizations around the country.  These are designed to help you address the quality STEM teacher shortage.

Identify Effective STEM Activities for Children

Baylor University recently published a guide, “How to Identify Effective STEM Activities for Children”, that helps parents and teachers know what to look for in a STEM lesson and offers nine examples of quality online resources.

Corporate Guide to STEM Internships

Shaping the Future

Global healthcare technology company Abbott has a high school STEM internship program and is encouraging others to join them in “Shaping the Future of STEM.” Abbott released a detailed STEM internship blueprint that other companies and organizations can use to create their own, similar programs. 

Free Computer Science Club Resources 


Girls Who Code offers free after-school programs for 6th-12th grade girls. GWC clubs provide supportive peers and computer science role models. Participants learn hard coding skills and computational thinking, in addition to project management skills, collaboration, bravery, resilience, and how to positively impact their communities. New clubs receive free resources, flexible plug and play curriculum, funding opportunities, ongoing support, and alumni opportunities. Computer science experience not required.

Upcoming STEM Events

March 11-24               Baltimore, MD            ITEEA Conference

April 1-4                     Chicago, IL                NCTM Conference

April 2-5                     Boston, MA                NSTA Conference

April 24-26                 Washington, DC         USA Science & Engineering Festival

July 12-17                  St Louis, MO              US PTO Teacher Summer Institute

July 22-24                  Louisville, KY              NSTA STEM Expo

Nov 17-19                  Detroit, MI                 STEM Ecosystems Community of Practice