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Orange County & LA Arts, Education & Science Leaders Create Arts and STEM Collaborative

Boeing-Funded Initiative is First of Its Kind in the Region

Leaders from Orange County and Los Angeles' arts, education and science communities have established the Arts and STEM Collaborative for 21st Century Learning. The purpose of the initiative is to explore how representatives from two counties and multiple content areas can work together to transform area schools into creative incubators. The Boeing Company invested $75,000 to support this regional effort. A report will be released in December documenting the work accomplished in 2013 and highlighting findings relevant for the field.

"Boeing continues to inspire the engineers and scientists of tomorrow through innovative initiatives and programs designed to help them prepare for technical jobs and careers," says Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager, Space & Intelligence Systems and chief executive officer, Boeing Satellite Systems International, Inc. "Quality STEM and arts education for all students will help develop the skills and creativity we need in the future workforce."

Arts Orange County, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, through its arts education initiative Arts for All, Los Angeles County Office of Education and Orange County Department of Education are leading the collaborative.

"Boeing has long supported our arts education initiatives and those of our partner in that realm, the OC Department of Education," said Pat Wayne, ArtsOC's Deputy Director. "We welcome this unique opportunity to work collaboratively with our counterpart agencies in Los Angeles County in pursuit of a new paradigm that can advance fledgling efforts in STEM + arts education around the region and the nation."

To date, participants in the collaborative include representatives from the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, California Science Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Art Center College of Design, Science OC, Cal State Fullerton, OC STEM Initiative, The Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine, Beall Center for Art + Technology at UC Irvine and Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Representatives from State Senator Carol Liu's office and The Boeing Company also sit on the committee.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) currently rolling out across the country emphasize the need to build students' critical thinking skills. These new standards offer a key opportunity to re-imagine how the arts and science might contribute to advancing education through real world project based learning. Both content areas are tied to leading industries and technologies that shape our world and can benefit students in preparing for college, careers and civic engagement. This project offers an opportunity to pool intellectual capital from each subject matter group with the aim of making a larger impact on broad scale educational change.

The first convening of the group last May focused on identifying common outcomes and/or measures of success for students. Additionally, subcommittees were formed and tasked with exploring how arts/STEM concepts and practices align with Common Core State Standards; examining how arts/STEM initiatives might support other statewide priorities; and building public awareness of the potential impact of a strong arts/STEM curriculum.

Arts Orange County is serving as the Project Coordinator for this initiative.