The EPIC Network desires to bring together the wealth of expertise in our school districts, best practices happening in the region and to enhance the ecosystem of professional practice through resource availability, professional development, curricular access, embedded coaching and mentoring, and varied student learning experiences.
The Eastern Pennsylvania Innovation Catalyst (EPIC) Network is a project founded by the Berks County Intermediate Unit (BCIU) and the Kutztown Area School District (KASD). The EPIC Network is a hub of innovation in Berks County and Eastern Pennsylvania rooted in STEM and CS education for our county and beyond enhancing instructional practice, increasing opportunities, and developing a network of innovation. Part of our charter is to ensure equitable practices and innovation is connect to and within reach of rural and socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. BCIU and KASD will serve as “satellite” sites for UPenn's Graduate School of Education’s Catalyst center, connecting to their Experiences in Applied Computational Thinking (EXACT) and CS/STEM master educators programs. These sites will target regional inequities in computer science and STEM education through four targeted areas:
- STEM Resource Libraries – regional equipment lending centers,
- Catalyst Centers - for regional professional development located at the BCIU and Kutztown Area School District,
- Ecosystem Empowerment - utilizing master teachers to coach emerging CS practitioners in the field and in their classrooms, and
- Camp_CS – providing experiences for all students to explore STEM/CS related career fields.
Our initiative will provide a direct impact on 67,424 students. Of these students, 51% of students are Economically Disadvantaged, 15% are identified as English Language Learners, 18% are receiving Special Education services, 49% of students are females, and 42% are identified as part of an underserved population.