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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:

Cameron Bell
, Executive Director, Media Relations & Public Information
303.982.7920 | Cameron.Bell@jeffco.k12.co.us
and
Mary Junta, Program and Finance Director, Jeffco Schools Foundation
303.982.2212 | Mary.Junta@jeffco.k12.co.us
Announcing Jeffco STEM Advisory Committee and $340,000 Gill Foundation Support for Smart Labs
Grant funds enable continued support for Arvada area schools and
secures district-wide vision for STEM learning

Golden, CO (May 26, 2021) - Jeffco Public Schools (Jeffco) and Jeffco Schools Foundation announce the formation of a twenty-five-member cross-sector Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) Advisory Committee. The formation of this committee builds on the investments of the Gill Foundation, with the announcement of $340,000 in funding for a fourth year in 2021-22, totaling over $1.2 Million in STEM SmartLab investments. Gill Foundation support impacts nine schools throughout the Arvada articulation area, with the majority of schools serving high-need students.

The Jeffco STEM Advisory Committee was formed to engage a variety of partners to inform STEM learning in schools and to build on the existing STEM education efforts from the community. These include important investors like the Gill Foundation, to increase relevance, equity, and access to STEM learning and opportunities across the school district.

"The school district aspires to prepare students for bright futures right here in Jefferson County and beyond,” said Angela Baber, executive director of Jeffco Schools Foundation. “STEM education and opportunity is a key component to ensure that every Jeffco student is prepared for the work environments that await them. We believe in building strong partnerships within our community to benefit students. Together, with our world-class industries, community, and postsecondary institutions, we want to ensure that every Jeffco student is able to access STEM education and opportunities."

With these two initiatives, we will extend STEM education and opportunities for Jeffco students, preparing them to find success in STEM careers and jobs requiring STEM competence. We know these jobs offer higher wages and that a STEM-literate and STEM-skilled community bolsters economic growth across the county, state, and nation.

"The investments our district and the Gill Foundation have made in STEM SmartLabs for our schools are critical for students from low-income families to access the opportunities that all kids deserve but not all kids have,” shared Stephanie Schooley, Jeffco Board of Education and Jeffco Schools Foundation board member. “Students in Arvada with access to STEM SmartLabs, including all the related wrap-around professional development and learning supports, will be better prepared for their bright futures because of this exciting and innovative partnership."

McKinstry Vice President of Energy & Technical Services Leslie Larocque and Matt Flores, chief academic officer for Jeffco Public Schools, will serve as co-chairs for the STEM Advisory Committee. “As a Golden-based company, we invest in STEM education to ensure our company and our community thrives,” said Leslie Larocque. “I’m excited to engage with an impressive and diverse set of partners on this important endeavor. Showing students what is possible and providing them with the necessary education and skills ensures a better future for us all."

Investing in equitable access to opportunities that prepare all students for success is a cornerstone in elevating the potential of all Jeffco learners and the entire Jeffco community.

"Tim Gill credits his success as a tech entrepreneur to a Wheat Ridge High School teacher who believed in him and gave him access to the school’s single computer at the time. When she unlocked the door to that computer room, she unlocked his vast potential as a software pioneer, and Tim wants to make sure every Jeffco student has that same kind of opportunity,” said Denise Whinnen, director of colorado programs at Gill Foundation and Jeffco STEM Advisory Committee member. “Our mission at the Gill Foundation is to help Colorado students dream big and realize their full potential, and we are thrilled to bring SmartLabs to Jeffco schools to allow students to explore, tinker, and problem-solve through state-of-the-art STEM curriculum and tools."
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About Jeffco Public Schools
Jeffco Public Schools has been providing educational excellence for 70 years. The district serves over 80,000 students at 155 schools. Jeffco Public Schools is dedicated to changing the student experience through Readiness for Learning, Conditions for Learning, and Learning as outlined in the Jeffco Strategic Plan.
About Jeffco Schools Foundation
Jeffco Schools Foundation is has been a nonprofit partner to Jeffco Public Schools for nearly 40 years. We are driven by a vision that every Jeffco student thrives. Learn more at Jeffco Schools Foundation and Jeffco Stem Advisory.
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