Empathize: Gather information from users In action: Fourth-graders in Colorado solicited ideas from local residents to help their city redesign a local park.
Define: Frame the problem In action: Administrators in Glenbrook High Schools District 225 considered student experience when redesigning classrooms. They chose furniture that let learners move around.
The 45 schools and systems recognized by this year’s District of Distinction program have created homegrown initiatives to support students’ social-emotional development, to provide powerful new opportunities for career-focused STEM learning and to improve the skills of educators.
STEAM learning—which incorporates art and design thinking into the traditional STEM subjects—is becoming increasingly adopted as educators seek to inspire more creativity, problem-solving skills, collaboration and critical thinking in their students. Educators in the Maury County Public Schools in Tennessee began pursuing their mission to blend project-based learning and STEM subjects with art and design in 2015. The end result was the creation of the Mt. Pleasant Arts Innovation Zone, the first preK-14 STEAM campus in the U.S.