Elementary/Middle School STEM Full Implementation
Whole school or district STEM initiatives. This is a non-traditional model of education in which the classroom resembles a work environment and students contribute to solving problems in the community. STEM careers, experiences, and skills drive the curriculum. Curriculum is integrated in authentic problem-based learning that is STEM career oriented and cross disciplinary. Students collaborate in teams to solve problems. Teachers facilitate teams of students towards solving problems and developing work force skills, commonly the skills required by STEM businesses in that area or region. Frequently, schools have partnerships with businesses to provide materials, resources, and capital.
Full STEM implementation is a highly collaborative environ ment between teachers, students, staff, and community. Teachers have common planning times in order to collaborate. Teachers may be offered the freedom to partner with each other to create new STEM opportunity classes. Administrators and Teachers collabor ate with external school partners to integrate those opportunities in the classroom . The established Leadership Team provides guidance to the school staff, parents and community.
Students engage in project-based learning that offers real world, relevant and complex problems. This may include internships, co-ops, work studies, mentorships, and job shadowing. Classrooms are facilitated by teachers who guide students to ask questions, research, solve problems and develop new technologies. This method of learning is offered to the whole student body. Full STEM implementation is a highly collaborative environment between teachers, students, staff, and community. Teachers have common planning times in order to collaborate and reflect on instruction. Teachers may be offered the freedom to partner with each other to create new STEM opportunity classes; for example, the opportunity to write grants and create new technologies. This might team an English teacher with an engineering teacher. Teachers collaborate with external school partners to integrate those opportunities in the classroom. Students work in teams towards goals. Students collaborate with teachers, often changing the traditional teacher-student relationship to a more collegial relationship.
Courses must be aligned to Indiana Academic Standards and Indiana’s Common Core Standards. However, the school may create new courses that integrate standards from multiple courses that may span a year or more. Schools may offer licensing, certifications, and possibly associate degrees. These schools offer college-level coursework and workforce skill development. Schools are innovative with scheduling. Classes may be several hours or possibly even the whole day. Courses are strategically scheduled to provide a natural progression from subject to subject. Courses may be combined with multiple teachers spanning multiple periods.
Learning does not stop at the end of the school day. This type of school offers opportunities outside of the classroom and school through afterschool programs, volunteering, work studies, etc. Often the school staff participates in or even runs the programs for extended learning.