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Acting Secretary Joins Students, Teachers Across the State for Innovative Learning, Workforce Readiness Festival

05/12/2021

Harrisburg, PA - Continuing the commitment to STEM education and career advancement, Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Acting Secretary Noe Ortega participated in the Remake Learning Days Across America (RLDAA) Festival, designed to provide students in kindergarten through high school with learning experiences to build their employability skills and prepare them for future careers. Over the course of eleven days, more than 600 events will take place in-person and virtually across the commonwealth. Preparing students for in-demand careers, especially in the growing fields of science and technology, is a priority for the Wolf Administration.

“With event themes ranging from planets to pixels to paleontology to pig farms and more, students across the commonwealth have a variety of unique opportunities to explore STEAM during Remake Learning Days,” said Acting Secretary of Education Noe Ortega. “This annual festival offers learning experiences that will help students strengthen their skillsets and prepare them for dynamic careers of the future.”

Acting Secretary Ortega joined students virtually and offered remarks for the Ask the Patent Agent - PPG Scientist Series event. During the event, middle and high school students also heard from PPG Patent Agent Linda Anderson on her role as a patent agent, the importance of patents, and what skills are necessary for the career.

The RLDAA Festival is May 6-16 and focuses on providing numerous learning activities where students can express their creativity, increase their collaboration and critical thinking skills, and create connections between their educational experiences and their futures. PDE’s Career Ready PA program has collaborated with organizers of this year’s RLDAA Festival to help elevate and increase awareness around employability skills and career readiness. This collaboration includes the Career Ready PA Backpack challenge, which provides students with opportunities to earn badges submit an artifact for their career portfolio. Remake Learning is a stakeholder in the Career Ready PA Coalition supported by the 10 Career Ready PA regional liaisons.

“The Career Ready PA Backpack Challenge creates opportunities for students to obtain artifacts for their career portfolios by participating in Remake Learning Days events in school or at home. The Challenge connects learners to free, live community events offering hands-on learning opportunities that help build employability skills, such as collaboration, critical thinking, and teamwork,” said PDE’s Special Consultant to the Secretary for Career Readiness, Dr. Laura Fridirici. “Students document their meaningful engagement in these events, which could include meeting a scientist or making their own invention, as they explore and learn more about the skills needed for a variety of careers. Students who participate earn a Career Ready PA Backpack Challenge digital badge. PDE will track participation in these events, and when a school earns 100 badges, they’ll receive a banner recognizing this accomplishment.”

This year, many of the programs offered to students are virtual, which creates and expands access opportunities for students while maintaining health and safety guidelines. Students can participate in the RLDAA events in their classrooms or individually at home. Pennsylvania’s seven PBS stations have also joined the festival to provide media support, assist with promotions, increase access, and offer events.

“The pursuit of artifacts is student-driven, very active and inquiry-based, and offer a deeper reflection on the skill sets needed in today’s workforce which helps students understand how their academic learning is preparing them for adult life,” said Remake Learning Director Tyler Samstag. “Remake Learning Days allow organizations to open their doors so that young people can go into that environment and engage with people who use STEM skills and practice hands-on creating for a living.”

For more information on Remake Learning Days Across America, visit their website.

The importance of STEM education has been strongly implemented in the Wolf Administration.

For Pennsylvania to perform as one of the nation’s leaders in STEM education, the Wolf Administration has dedicated several resources to the expansion. Recently, Governor Tom Wolf announced $10.8 million in PAsmart Advancing Grants to expand access to computer science and STEM education for Pennsylvania learners. Combined with PAsmart Targeted Grants announced in 2020, the Wolf administration has awarded nearly $20 million to bolster STEM and computer science (CS) in schools during the 2020-21 school year. Over the last three years, the Wolf Administration awarded 453 PAsmart grants to expand computer science classes and teacher training at over 765 schools across the commonwealth.

For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs, please visit the Department of Education’s website at www.education.pa.gov or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kendall Alexander, kenalexand@pa.gov

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