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Placer Union High School District commends Sierra College STEM Collaborative


Applied Academic Programs Prepare Students for Future

ROCKLIN: Sierra College's Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) Collaborative ( received recognition from the Placer Union High School District Board of Trustees at the board meeting on Tuesday, May 4 in Auburn, CA. Sandra Scott, director of grant development and career technical education (CTE) and Carol Pepper-Kittredge, director, Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) for Sierra College, were acknowledged for their many contributions to enhancing the Career Technical Education programs at Colfax and Placer high schools. They received beautiful wooden plaques customized by the teachers, unique wooden purses designed and created in the tech lab, and flowers.

 The district expressed gratitude for: "their energy, contribution and commitment" and support of STEM "which has transformed teaching and learning, reinforced academics, integrated CTE disciplines, made learning relevant, engaged more students and united staff in the vision of preparing students for a challenging and dynamic 21st century workplace."

Gregg Ramseth, Director of Technology, Placer Union High School District, described the STEM impact as far reaching. "Great things are happening in our schools. Ask anyone who has strolled through Mechatronics, Design Tech, Ag Welding or Wood. Our students are the real beneficiaries as they are guided through these challenging learning environments with a fired up faculty," said Ramseth.

The objective of the Sierra STEM Collaborative is to help teachers attract students to technical careers by exposing them to real world design, product development and production tools and techniques. Through engaging projects, STEM instructors prepare students with relevant hands-on applied academic curriculum and encourage them further their education in engineering, mechatronics, energy technology and engineering support technology at Sierra College.

Sierra STEM Collaborative teachers integrate math and science into product development project curriculum grooming students to succeed in further education and careers. At Colfax High School, the STEM Collaborative teachers developed the new Design Tech ( program with planning, professional development and other support from Sierra College. Design Tech students explore design principles while rotating through four sections of design and construction, metal, integrated computers and electronics to build components and assemble a model car.

Wade Wolff, Colfax instructor, said the Sierra STEM Collaborative was instrumental in developing the Design Tech program. "Sandra, Carol and the rest of the Sierra College team inspired us to consider new ways of teaching," said Wolff. Jonathan Schwartz, Colfax instructor says affiliation with the STEM Collaborative has been motivating. "These last couple years have been my most fun yet. I love teaching now even more than before," said Schwartz. "I thank Sierra College and STEM project for all that they have done to make that happen."

At Placer High School, Mechatronics ( students learn a blend of mechanics, electronics, pneumatics and computer science as they build robots, cranes and solar trackers. The STEM collaborative supplied instructors with professional development opportunities and helped modernize the shop facilities according to Tom Stargaard, Mechatronics teacher. Placer students also learn to design parts using 3D computer software and fabricate them using laser cutters and production equipment. "Our partnership with the Sierra STEM collaborative has enabled us to offer our students a cutting edge advanced mechatronics program," said Stargaard. "These students will have a real advantage when they further their studies in this field."

The Sierra STEM Collaborative received a grant from the California Community College Chancellor's Office to support the region's long-term economic viability through career technical education (CTE). The project aligns education with business to develop relevant hands-on learning models, merge academics with technical education and fill the pipeline of future workers who are qualified for highly-paid, in-demand technical positions. For more information about the Sierra STEM Collaborative, go to or contact Sandra Scott, Sierra College at (916) 781-6244
Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies and Economic and Workforce Development
(916) 660-7801
Sierra College Training & Development
Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT)
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