Welcome! Begun as a resource for those aspiring to enhance STEM-based teaching, learning and leading, this site has grown to encompass more hands-on projects and materials. Be sure to explore the drop-down.
Scenario: New STEM Director
Congratulations! You've been selected as the new director for STEM, CTE, and Advanced Academics. You will be meeting soon with district leaders to outline your 90-day plan to ensure success for students.
Your plan, leaders anticipate, will explain your vision for STEM, college readiness, potential partnerships, and blend technology into the program. Regrettably, everyone is on a tight schedule so you will have approximately 10 minutes to amaze.
Vision for STEM & College Readiness
Students (and staff) will have the opportunity to develop STEAM skills and become "college ready" through the strategic application of technology across all fields of endeavor.
This vision is founded on a curriculum-based approach to making and STEM/STEAM where the tools used are multipurpose and flexible in their use all the way from beginners to advanced learners. STEM/STEAM learning flows from this hands-on approach to integrating the physical and digital world in curriculum-based projects.
Vision/Call to Action
All students will enjoy successful education experiences to empower them to make decisions and enrich their lives in a future they create.
1. We believe in engagement of the school community for the success of our district.
2. We believe in a strong support system for the school community to achieve excellence.
3. We believe that innovative and challenging experiences produce successful learners.
4. We believe that trusting relationships among the school community are essential to student success.
5. We believe that an inclusive school culture promotes positive student development.
6. We believe strong and effective leadership is essential to build a culture of high expectations.
90-Day Plan for Success
This action plan serves as a guide to facilitate conversation among key stakeholders. It is organized around several key areas, including Plan, Make, Tools, and Collaborate. The Assess component will be reflected in metrics developed in Plan and Make areas.
No 90-day plan can succeed without relationship and trust-building conversations, technology infrastructure, and collaborative movement forward.
Advanced Academic Programs
Advanced Academic Services represents a critical opportunity for growth for students in the District. Students need to have access to the following services:
- Advanced Placement (AP) with AP Examinations to earn dual or concurrent college credit through affiliated colleges/universities
- Career and Technology Articulation Program Development with local colleges/universities/organizations
- Support programs like Duke Talent Search (and Talent Identification Program) for 4th-5th grade, as well as 7th grade students
- Plan, implement and support programs such as UIL, Destination Imagination, university open houses, Texas Future Problem Solving, STEM Scouts, and Girls Who Code.
Promote the Development of the 21st Century Learner with Technology in Core Content
- Perform district-wide benchmark assessment for technology infrastructure and instructional integration (e.g. Brightbytes Clarity) in collaboration with appropriate district departments (e.g. Curriculum and Technology)
- Incorporate H.E.A.T. Walkthrough components into classroom walkthrough assessments, and provide professional learning opportunities for administrators and leadership
- Discuss blended learning approaches and identify critical infrastructure (e.g. available technology, learning management systems, available deployment of tools (e.g. Google Suites for Education) to match usage across all departments and campuses
- Showcase implementation of new approaches through face to face, online self-paced learning events, and webinars for professional learning
- Identify and articulate professional learning and certification expectations for all staff groups (e.g. Paraeducators, Teachers, Administrators, Nursing) that enhances technology skills
- Provide 100% online staff development courses (as funds allow) on critical topics such as Sexual Harassment, Child Abuse, Bullying, Digital Citizenship, Responsible Use Agreement, etc. within 30 days of beginning work in the District. Staff are expected to annually "refresh" their training
Towards a Digital Classroom, Campus, and District
- Classroom Technology Access
- Each teacher has a personal computing device - whether that be a desktop computer, laptop computer, or Chromebook+iPad. Teachers receive this device when they sign a contract with the District.
- Staff and students (grades K-12) have access to their own Google Suites for Education accounts.
- All classrooms have a digital projector (mounted), document camera, sound system and access to web-based multimedia resources, online textbooks, and Web 2.0 tools, along with district-provided and state-provided collaborative tools.
- Some classrooms have other digital technologies that provide functions similar to digital still cameras, video cameras, web cameras, student response devices, digital microscopes, and digital data collectors.
- All classrooms have a pull-down projection screen, typically in the center of the front wall.
- All Campus Improvement Plans (CIPs) will reflect professional learning in blended learning/flipped learning approaches. Teachers will be held accountable for participating in professional learning activities.
- Network Connectivity
- High-speed Internet access is available on a minimum of 4-6 hard-wired drops in each classroom.
- A wireless access point is in place in each classroom capable of supporting 40-60 mobile devices and is...
- Campus leaders, in collaboration with the Technology Department, will ensure there are ample wireless access points capable of supporting all district-owned and BYOT wireless devices. Guest access is available for student or visitor devices.
- Campus Technology Access
- Desktop computers deployed in computer labs allocated at a ratio of 11 students to 1 computer (appropriate for calculating lab deployments)
- Different configurations of mobile device carts (e.g. Chromebooks) for sharing across the campus are available based on campus size and instructional needs.
- Schools conduct broadcasts using web-based tools (e.g. Google Hangouts) from which they can broadcast daily announcements over the campus network.
The Digital Campus and Digital District
- Curriculum & Instruction
- Leverage technology for both curriculum delivery and day-to-day operations.
- Digital textbooks are available on a wide-range of devices for student use in school and at home.
- The District has provided more online learning opportunities for students and teachers.
- Provide a Digital Curriculum Guide includes the integration of technology (e.g. inquiry-based, project-based, problem-based learning) in core content areas.
- District teaching and instructional support staff need to embrace and use adopted electronic instructional materials purchased through IMA
- The State Standards for curriculum for technology (Technology Applications TEKS) are fully integrated into the Digital Curriculum Guide.
- The District has transformed teaching by ushering in a new model of connected teaching and learning.
- Professional learning communities for administrators include technology integration and information services priorities.
- For Students
- Increased home internet access for economically disadvantaged students has been made available.
- Obsolete technology for the District is made available to students via a Computer Take-Home Program
- For Educators
- Campus leadership model model data assessment analysis, as well as technology use at the higher levels of the H.E.A.T./LOTI frameworks
- Professional learning for all teachers on the H.E.A.T. model--and employing technology in meaningful ways relevant to classroom instruction--are embedded in core content areas occurs during every professional learning session facilitated by curriculum staff.
- All staff have successfully completed professional learning on classroom management in learning environments with Chromebooks, tablets and/or mobile devices.
- Teachers are provided time during school devoted to learning ways to integrate technology.
- Professional learning communities for administrators include technology integration and information services priorities.
- Data Warehouse
- Consistent access is available to a web-based Data Warehouse that provides just-in-time access to juxtaposed sources of student assessment data, and effects of instructional interventions.
- Interim assessments that are digitally developed, delivered, and instantly available for teachers to guide instruction are available. This data management solution has enabled increased application data availability and access for 24/7 teaching and learning.
- Data Warehouse Development and Report Standardization - The continued development of the data warehouse to meet the goals of providing timely data for evaluation, as well as the continued definition of standard reports to help facilitate effective operations.
Sample STEM Camp Proposal
This proposal recommends that the ISD fund a summer camp to encourage middle school students to begin developing the skills needed to be successful in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) setting, as well as provide professional learning in STEM for two classroom teachers, both which will need to apply to participate.
Directly impact student achievement through enhancement of the learning tools available to students and their teachers. To achieve this, this initiative will provide 2 teachers (1 from each MS campus) and 30 students the following equipment outlined in this proposal--Raspberry Pi mini-computer with identified peripherals and software, and then assess their impact on student learning. Aside from the goal of impacting student learning, this initiative also seeks to do the following:
- Develop STEM work ethics and attitudes conducive to learning in science, technology, engineering and math so as to impact math, science, and reading core content areas.
- Transform teaching and learning practices as informed by research and best practices.
- Provide ubiquituous access to technology at the point of need that extends beyond what is available in a school setting.
Need For The STEM Camp
It is now well established that the Nation is facing a crisis due to the fact that it is not producing enough scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals to remain economically competitive in the global marketplace. While this problem is not new, our high tech economy has been sustained for the last several decades by an influx of STEM graduate students and professionals drawn to the US by the strength of our universities and technology sector built up over the second half of the twentieth century. However, this reliance on foreign immigrants to fill our demand for STEM professionals becomes more precarious as other countries strengthen their own science and engineering infrastructures.
The ISD needs to enhance students' science and math skills to better prepare students to go into STEM-related careers. K‐12 students’ experience with science and mathematics plays a key role in influencing whether students pursue a STEM university degree.
Some research regarding the importance of STEM in K-12 settings:
- Students who focus on STEM in high school and major in one or more of those areas in college are the most highly paid professionals, on average (Source: EducationTechNews.com).
- The [Science Education XIV survey found that the K-12 education system fell short as well, with respondents giving it a "D" for the job it does to encourage minorities to study STEM subjects and a "D+" for girls (Source: Bayer Facts of Science Education XIV Survey).
Pursuing a career in STEM also can have positive long-term consequences in terms of salary since it influences what college majors students will engage in.
Based on this research, as well as others not cited here, it is clear that the role of the principal in effecting use of technology in classrooms is incredibly important. There are also videos that address the importance of STEM:
- STEM - The Choice is Your's
- GoogleTalks - Raspberry Pi - How programming can get kids started in STEM.
Guidelines for Transfer of Data Processing Equipment to Student
Students participating in the program receive approximately $100 investment in equipment, as well as a donated computer monitor and USB keyboard/mouse. Since the equipment being transferred to students was purchased by the school district, the ISD will require student and parents to complete the ISD Transfer of Data Processing Equipment form that includes a student, parent, and Instructional Technology Department.
Pursuant to State Law, school districts may transfer equipment to students that they deem will serve a public purpose and benefit the district and/or a school provided confidential, proprietary information--as determined by the district--is removed. The school district may transfer to a student enrolled in the district 1) any data processing equipment donated to the district/school; 2) any equipment purchased by the district; 3) any surplus or salvage equipment owned by the district; and 4) any equipment donated (including gifts, grants, money) to the district.
Sources include Acts, 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1272, Sec. 6.01, eff. June 15, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1276, Sec. 9.020 (f), eff. September 1, 2003. Amended by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., 1st C.S., Ch. 4, Sec. 29.02, eff. September 28, 2011.
Collaboration with District Curriculum Department staff will be sought in developing selection criteria for students and staff. The application process will consist of the following:
Students will need to submit an application form reflecting their interest, as well as a math and/or science teacher recommendation for participation.
Only two teachers will be accepted to facilitate the program. These teachers will need to be willing to commit to the following:
- Completing a Memo of Understanding about expectations and participation.
- Adapting a curriculum focused on programming for use with students at the Middle School level based on the Raspberry Pi Education Manual.
- Attend 2 days (12 hours) of professional development (extra duty pay available).
- Facilitate a 2 week, half-day (3 hour) session for students.
Professional Learning for Facilitating STEM Camp Teachers
Participants will attend two 6-hour workshop session. Curriculum Department specialists will also attend training and provide support to this initiative. Professional learning will be geared around the Raspberry Pi Education Manual, but also Wes Fryer's Support STEM Skills with Scratch. Scratch software (scratch.mit.edu) is free software from MIT which can be used by students and teachers to create animations, games, simulations, music, art, stories, and more.
Professional Learning sessions will also be assessed at levels 4 and 5 of the Five Critical Levels of Professional Development Evaluation (Guskey, T, Professional development, Corwin Press, Inc). Those levels include the following:
- Level 4- Participants’ use of new knowledge and skills:
- Questions Addressed include: Did participants effectively apply the new knowledge and skills?
- Instruments used will include questionnaires, structured interviews, participant reflections, portfolios, video-or audiotape if appropriate.
- Level 5- Student learning outcomes:
- Questions Addressed include:
- a) What was the impact on students?;
- b) Did it affect student performance or achievement?
- Instruments used include questionnaires, portfolios, and student records.
Assessment and Evaluation
- Ongoing assessment will be provided through the implementation process and conducted by the Curriculum Department team.
- Student products will also be displayed via a web site managed collaboratively by the Curriculum Department team.
- Teacher developed lessons will be published via the ISD STEM web site.
In this 2 week, half-day course, students will learn how to apply grade level math and science in simulated real world projects. Each project utilizes a sample set of applications of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) concepts.
Project based learning methods are used in a lab environment. Students will demonstrate their finished projects to an online global audience and video interviews made available via the STEM Camp web site.
- Grade 7 students who exhibit high academic standards
- Preference will be given to educationally disadvantaged students
- To have fun playing with a palm-sized learner friendly computer specialized for education
- To learn the basics of computer programming using two intuitive programming languages called Scratch® and Python®
- To understand how computers work
- To introduce basic problem solving techniques using computers and computer algorithms
- To introduce the Open Source® hardware and software including a Linux®based operating system
- To help build soft skills to work in a team environment
Participants will receive the following:
- Raspberry Pi computer with WiPi (wireless access)
- Micro-SD Power Cable
- 16gig SanDisk SD Card (serves as hard drive for computer)
- HDMI to VGA Adapter Cable
- Computer Monitor (donated equipment)
- USB Keyboard (donated equipment)
- USB Mouse (donated equipment)
- Ethernet cable
Estimated total value of equipment: $220
- Description and Objectives adapted from Mathbotix
- STEM image adapted from http://goo.gl/63KkM