The world of work is quickly redefining what it means to be ready—a broader set of goals that reflect fast-paced, complex and diverse workplaces. Students need to be great communicators, collaborators and critical thinkers who can tackle novel problems. To prepare students to be really ready for their futures, we must define what that means for them now—not just once they graduate from high school.
Five years ago, Boston Public School’s John Eliot School in the city’s North End neighborhood was declared an innovation school. What that meant for principal Traci Walker-Griffith was more autonomy in choosing the elementary school’s curriculum for her 570 students. One of the first curricular changes she made was bringing in Everyday Mathematics.
The maker movement is poised to transform K12 learning. Makerspaces—workshop areas that provide tools and raw materials for students to invent, create, collaborate and learn—reinforce STEM skills and enable more authentic learning. While there are a variety of ways to design and build makerspaces, there are some key strategies administrators can employ to ensure their program is successful.
When the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada, wants to turn around elementary schools, it looks to Principal John Haynal. He’s already improved outcomes at two elementary schools in this, the country’s fifth largest school district.
One of the newest technologies being applied in K12 STEM coursework today is 3D printing, which helps to fuel creativity, problem solving and project-based learning while exposing students to tools they may use later in their careers. 3D printing can also be used at the middle school level to prepare students for more advanced work in high school.
Starting fresh with a new math curriculum was the goal for Gloucester Township Public Schools in fall 2013. The K-8 district, which is located 14 miles southeast of Philadelphia in New Jersey and serves 6,400 students, had a new curriculum and instruction department team charged with the task of updating outdated materials.
Upon receiving a special School Improvement Grant to implement a Tennessee-approved turnaround model in 2013, leaders for Shelby County Schools in Memphis selected seven sites to transform. These schools, designated by the district as i-Zone schools, fall in the bottom 5 percent in the state. Douglass K8 Optional School is one of the selected schools.
Lyceum Academy offers a rigorous, fully integrated AP® and honors-based curriculum at New Hanover High School in Wilmington, North Carolina. This 200-student “school within a school,” part of the most diverse school in New Hanover County, attracts students ready to face an educational challenge.
Leaders in Johnston County Schools in central North Carolina knew they needed to find more effective ways to help struggling students, close the achievement gap and meet their core instructional priorities. So they carefully planned a pilot program to choose the best adaptive learning system for the district’s 25,000 K8 students and their educators.
McPherson Magnet School is part of Orange USD, located in southern California. A K8 magnet school focused on science, math and technology, McPherson has been open since 1997 and serves 900 students. The school’s mission includes valuing a range of learning styles, utilizing a variety of learning tools and strategies while extending the learning environment beyond the classroom.
Teaching math in middle school is challenging! Teachers deal with adolescent volatility, a wide variance in student ability, and a surprisingly sophisticated set of mathematical ideas. Adding to these challenges, the new Common Core assessments probe students’ understanding of mathematical concepts at a depth not previously widespread on State tests.
As increasing STEM teaching and learning continue to be goals of many districts, administrators are looking for tools that help encourage more students to pursue future careers in these fields.
The New Lenox School District 122 serves 5,400 pre-K through grade 8 students in 12 schools, and is located about 30 miles outside Chicago. The district has been noted for its high levels of achievement, with an average of 85 percent of students meeting or exceeding the Illinois Learning Standards in each of the last nine years.
Using community engagement, professional development, custom curricula and digital resources, the leaders of Oak Ridge Schools in Tennessee hope to transform the district into a recognized leader in STEM education.
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were finalized in April 2013 after a lengthy research and development process by the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Achieve and a group of 26 states. Not a set of curricula, the NGSS serves to provide teachers with guidelines for teaching practical, more in-depth science.