New Opportunities: August 31st, 2021

NC STEM Schools of Distinction Rubric: Tool for School Improvement

Is your school interested in using the NC STEM Schools of Distinction Rubric for school improvement or to receive the STEM School of Distinction designation?  The NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) is offering a two-day planning institute (10/18-10/20) for school teams to enhance STEM. 

During this two-day planning institute schools will review the overarching principles of the Rubric, consider what each principle means in the context of their individual school, assess the school’s readiness, draft a strategic plan and develop next steps for school improvement or to apply for the NC STEM Schools of Distinction. The institute will include whole group discussion to learn from best practices across the state and individual school team planning.  

Who should attend:  School teams of three to five (including a required administrator). Schools which currently have a STEM focus or have previously applied for the STEM School of Distinction designation will benefit the most from this institute.

NCCAT provides your food, lodging and programming. 

North Carolina certified pre-K through 12th grade teachers who are employed in North Carolina public schools, including charter schools, are eligible to attend NCCAT programs. (This may include school administrators, counselors, library media specialists, lead teachers, and mentors.) 

More information:

Questions?  Carol MooreLisa Rhoades

LEAP into Science

 Face to Face Training @ NC Center of Engineering Technologies: Sept. 30th, 4:00-6:00
Next Virtual Trainings: Sept 20th & Nov 15th!

 STEM West, alongside the North Carolina State Leadership Team, sets to continue their efforts in supporting LEAP into Science in North Carolina. The North Carolina State Leadership Team has been awarded a $6,000 grant and $900 in books from The Franklin Institute to continue the to impact children ages 3-10 and their families with open-ended science activities paired with children’s books. This LEAP into Science program empowers educators to offer programs outside of school in their communities so that they can engage underserved audiences in accessible and familiar settings. The North Carolina State Leadership Team includes STEM West, STEM East, STEM SENC, the State Library of North Carolina, and the North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center (SMT Center). This past year, during the pandemic, they were able to launch this program in Headstart organizations across the state. So far they have held 3 training sessions and have more on the docket. In essence, they have trained 55 educators in the LEAP into Science program. Although the pandemic continues, the success of this year’s programming has allowed for the North Carolina State Leadership Team’s outreach to continue. The funding from this renewed grant will allow them to reach an estimated 30 more organizations across the state. “STEM is more than Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It’s Strategies That Engage Minds through hands-on, active involvement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education that promotes essential cognitive skills for the 21st century,” says Lisa Rhoades, Senior Program Associate at the SMT Center. “The LEAP into Science program aligns nicely with our philosophy about learning – content is important but the thinking skills gained from inquiry are critical and transferable to all subject areas.”The LEAP into Science program’s success in NC will no doubt continue as this new grant doubles the awarded funding for the programming. More now than ever, educators will be connected and supported throughout and after the program through numerous professional development resources for training, instructional videos, and online networks of educators across the country. The program is in the recruitment phase and accepting applications with a focus on the NC STEM Ecosystem Regions.
For more information, visit LeapNC (

NC Science Festival 2022: Time Sensitive Resource!

The wildly popular Duke Energy Science Night for elementary schools program is back for its 11th year! These kits contain everything you need to host a science night for 200+ students and their families as part of the annual North Carolina Science Festival. 

Applications are now open for schools to receive one of a limited number (150) of science night kits at no cost to you. The application for these sponsored kits must be submitted by August 31. 

Since the program debuted in 2012, demand has skyrocketed to the point where we’re only able to award kits to about one-third of the schools that apply. We select schools based on the greatest economic need, diversity, and compelling stories from the applicants, but want to expand the reach of this program as broadly as possible. Therefore, schools are now able to purchase science night kits for $495. The preorder process has begun, and all orders are due by September 10. 

Please visit our website to learn more about the program and what is included with the kit as well as more detailed instructions and timings.  

Still have questions? Feel free to email us at

Thank you for all you do for your students – and for STEM education! 

Kind regards, 
Erik Erik MacIntosh
Programs Manager, NC Science Festival
Pronouns: he, him, his

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
250 East Franklin Street | Campus Box 3480
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3480
919-962-3274 |
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To edit your point contact:

Carol Moore


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