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District 75 News and Announcements

Posted on: April 18, 2017

D75 Visits Baxter - Sees Work Potential for Students

Mundelein District 75 spearheaded a professional networking symposium at Baxter Healthcare that inspired educators to integrate STEM into all aspects of student learning but also reassured them that other skills like public speaking and teamwork are traits employers seek out in the hiring market.

“Baxter spearheaded the symposium because educators want to know the skill sets employers need,” said Lisa St. Clair, a Baxter senior manager.

Nearly 50 educators from Chicago and surrounding suburbs attended the Illinois STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Leadership Symposium earlier this month at Baxter's Round Lake facility. Discover Education (part of the Discovery Channel), and District 75 co-sponsored the event.

“Upon coming home from a similar workshop with Discovery Education and 3M in St. Paul, I connected with Baxter and Discovery to partner on a leadership symposium in northern Lake County. Our goal was to help school leaders understand what careers are available in STEM-related fields. What we took away was that Baxter (and other companies like it) has a job for everyone. As schools we need to help our students find their passions and connect them with futures that maximize their potential,” said Dan Swartz, District 75 Director of Teaching and Learning.

The symposium focused on professional development for STEM teachers and explored best practices for driving STEM education so students can acquire the skills they need today for the jobs of tomorrow. Discovery Education's Dr. Robert Corbin, Director of Global STEM Initiatives, spoke and hosted a round-table discussion featuring Baxter leaders. "STEM education is not taught – it's developed," Dr. Corbin told the educators. "It instills curiosity, emotion and contemplation in young students. It's for everybody."

The educators toured Round Lake Drug Delivery and during the panel session heard from Baxter leaders across a range of disciplines with thoughts on the attributes most valued by tech employers and ways to mentor and inspire students. In addition, some guests stayed to tour the 3D modeling lab at Baxter.

Next Generation Science Standards, the standards now used in Illinois schools, incorporate STEM lessons throughout a student’s academic career.

“Businesses aren’t just looking for the ‘hard’ skills but we also look for employees who have the soft skills, that is they can attack a problem from different perspectives, can work with others to solve problems. We don’t need the best mathematician, we need someone who can attack a problem from different orientations. We want to reinforce that what teachers are currently doing by expecting say third graders to give presentations in front of their classmates is essential because by the time they come to us they’re comfortable presenting their views with teammates,” said the Baxter senior manager.

Mr. Swartz looks to continue partnering with both Discovery and Baxter in the future. “I don’t know what this partnership has in the near future, but the potential is unlimited,” he said.
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