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STEM

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.

Two years ago, the Mehlville School District in suburban St. Louis passed a tax levy that included dedicated funding for professional development and strategic plans focusing on middle school STEM programs. For Tina Plummer, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning in Mehlville, that meant implementing the STEM Innovator program with Discovery Education, where staff had ongoing professional development and coaching focused on STEM education and career opportunities.

David Liss was seeing a unique challenge when it came to implementing 1-to-1 technology for the 6,200 students in Nixa Public Schools, one of the top-performing districts in Missouri.

“One of the things that kept coming up for us was there wasn’t data to support the premise that 1-to-1 technology increased student performance,” says Liss, who is Nixa’s executive director of technology. “In lower-performing districts, the data showed that 1-to-1 technology was increasing engagement, which was increasing student performance.”

K12 STEM programs are evolving, incorporating new tools and technologies to better prepare students for rapidly changing college and career environments. Makerspaces, drones, coding and robotics are all part of this next generation of STEM learning that is just beginning to have an impact in districts.

De Anza Academy of Technology and the Arts is a high-achieving magnet school with project-based and collaborative-learning environments and makerspaces. A few years ago, however, De Anza, part of Ventura USD in California, was a low-achieving middle school with declining enrollment and at risk of closure. 

De Anza decided to become a 1-to-1 technology school to engineer a turnaround, which intrigued Alex Wulff, who is a STEM instructor at De Anza, but it also left him with a question.

10/17/2017

K12 STEM programs are evolving, incorporating new tools and technologies to better prepare students for rapidly changing college and career environments. Makerspaces, drones, coding and robotics are all part of this next generation of STEM learning that is just beginning to have an impact in districts.

10/4/2017

While STEM education has become a priority for K12 educators and policymakers, ensuring equity of access to high-quality STEM programs for all students remains challenging. Districts are stepping up to this challenge in innovative ways, using creative strategies to provide these learning opportunities equitably to all student populations.

When Teasley Middle School in Cherokee County, Georgia, opened for the 2013-14 school year, teachers and administrators were looking for an opportunity to help students in grades 6 through 8 better understand STEM learning content. 

Teasley is a Title I school with more than half of its students receiving free or reduced lunch. It also has the highest percentage of English language learners and students with disabilities among middle schools in Cherokee County School District, which has 41,800 students and is 40 minutes north of Atlanta.

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.

Created in conjunction with Rice University, STEMscopes is a comprehensive and hands-on K12 science curriculum that serves more than 1.4 million students online. It provides numerous intervention and acceleration activities as well as teacher support resources. These activities can be delivered in customizable ways that can be adapted to unique teaching and learning styles.

Year: 
2014

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