We are a service organization which strives to:
- Engage the public through a news and informational website with a regional Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math focus.
- Engage the public through events and speaking engagements on the status of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math.
- Provide information ranging from regional cutting-edge businesses, PreK-20 education, afterschool & informal education, internships, and workforce opportunities with an entrepreneur fortitude and focus.
- Facilitate a collaborative effort in the community to inter-weave the benefits of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math along with a strong focus of entrepreneurship in the Ozarks region.
In today's technology-driven environment, that mission facilitates the necessary learning opportunities our public needs to meet the challenges of STEAM education with an entrepreneur focus and the need to encourage young people and transitioning adults into science careers to meet the demands of global competition and skills needed for 21st century careers.
Why does STEM matter?
Studies indicate that American fourth grade students score high in math and science when compared to their global peers, but by twelfth grade our students score at the bottom. Southwest Missouri (the Ozarks) students mirror this statistic which leaves many of our students losing interest in these subjects and less prepared to enter the global workforce.
STEM can strengthen the economic well-being of the Ozarks region:
- Earning power: Payscale.com (2013) recently found that the median yearly salary for STEM-trained graduates with three years' experience in their field tend to earn twice as much as those in non-STEM career tracks.
- Job force: In the professional and technical services alone, 1,107 firms employ 7,289 Southwest Missourians with a percentage grown from the previous year at 25.6% (Source: MERIC 2012).
- Economy: STEM-based industries accounted for three-quarters of Missouri's $6.68 billion in products and services exported in 2013 which is down from $10.6 billion in 2005 (Source: WISER and MERIC).
Why add the Arts to STEM? STEAM!
Art, music, and design weave together with STEM to create "the whole package". The Arts fosters creativity along with new ways of thinking that open up STEM innovation. The arts set a platform where risk thinkers think around corners of a box. Creativity and innovation have always been America's secret ingredients.
Steven Ross Pomeroy notes, "Nobel laureates in the sciences are seventeen times likelier than the average scientist to be a painter, twelve times as likely to be a poet, and four times as likely to be a musician."
The impact of the arts:
- camouflage for soldiers in the United States armed forces was invented by American painter Abbot Thayer
- Earl Bakken based his pacemaker on a musical metronome
- Japanese origami inspired medical stents and improvements to vehicle airbag technology
- Albert Einstein was an accomplished violinist
A number of The Ozarks students do not possess a basic knowledge of math and science. There are pockets of outstanding work being done by some classrooms/districts and OSTEAM wants to showcase their effort; so we are not all trying to reinvent the wheel. Learning from each other and sharing those successes is one of the ways The Ozarks can improve.
- Missouri fourth grade students' math skills rank in the bottom third nationally (Source: National Center for Educational Statistics).
- Math scores of eight-grade students have declined in national assessments, ranking Missouri below thirty-four other states (Source: National Center for Educational Statistics).
- In 2013, 54.1 percent of Missouri's Algebra II students scored at proficient or advanced in math, down 2% from 2012. And from 55.1% in 2012 to 74.7 % in 2013- Biology End of Course tested at proficient or advances in science (Source: DESE School Accountability Report Card 2013).
- As a result, the need for post-secondary remediation in math has increased significantly in recent years. In 2004, more than 30 percent of first-time college freshman were enrolled in remedial math classes at Missouri's public institutions (Source: MERIC analysis of DHE, EMAS data).
- According to 2013 data from the Department of Economic Development- Missouri Economic Research & Information Center, 34% of job openings in 2012/2013 in Missouri were STEM related occupations. It is projected that we will see an 11.1% increase for science-intensive jobs in our state by 2018.
Here’s the question: Where will we get the workforce to supply these jobs and what will we do to make sure our students are prepared? We are already behind in producing the amount of students in STEM needed to meet the current demands. If you look at our high school Missouri Assessment Program scores, only 28% meet all four ACT college readiness benchmarks (72% English, 49%reading, 45% math, and 41% science). In the Ozarks region alone the Biology End of Course Test ranges from 42%- 87%.
For additional information, please visit the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education's website.
The Ozarks Systeamic Coalition Founding Board Members:
Deb Wilson - Chairman, representing general public
Dr. Kevin Kopp - Vice Chairman- Executive Director of Elementary Education, Nixa Schools, representing preK-12 education
Mike Tyndall - Secretary, owner of Renegade Chemicals, representing business
Dennis Flattem - owner of Associated Machinist, representing manufacturing
Dr. Tammy Jahnke - Missouri State University, Dean of the College of Natural & Applied Sciences, representing higher education
Dr. Matt Pearce - Assistant Superintendent of Academic Services, Republic Schools, representing preK-12 education
David Beach - Architect and Associate Professor of Architecture at Drury University, representing higher education and the arts