The Power of 'STEAM'

Ron enjoyed two opportunities last week in Oregon to hear from young people just how much creative instruction in science and technology energizes them to learn.

At Boise-Eliot/Humboldt Elementary School in north Portland and at the Rockwood branch of the Multnomah County Library in east Multnomah County, youngsters showed Ron the huge benefits of education in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM).

Ron came away impressed with the students, who reinforced the work he’s doing to make sure students are prepared to graduate from high school and to support STEAM grants through the Department of Education.

This showcases the power of STEAM to drive young people’s minds,” Ron said Friday after he and Boise-Eliot/Humboldt school principal Kevin Bacon worked with fifth-grade students working on a STEAM project about the moon. “You can just see their enthusiasm. The teachers and the staff deserve enormous credit.

Getting young people excited about education doesn’t happen by osmosis,” he said, identifying himself proudly as the son of a librarian. “It starts at home with parents, and then continues when you have teachers like these who reach out to students so that when they learn you also have a good time.”

On Saturday, Ron joined with Multnomah County officials to cut the ribbon at the Rockwood library branch on its new “makerspace” -- a cooperative learning environment for kids to cultivate their STEAM skills and prepare themselves for high school.

The “makerspace” provides youngsters with access to mentors and creative technology — such as 3D printers, a laser cutter, computer coding, video editing and music production tools.

It connects these young people,” said Ron, “with those who can help them see how these skills apply in the real world.”