In September, OSIT launched the inaugural STEM Leaders Academy. Eleven schools, both traditional public and charter, from four different school districts were selected to participate.
The purpose of the STEM Leaders Academy is to increase the quality and reach of STEM education throughout the State. School teams made up of teachers and administrators will participate in five full day workshops throughout the school year. At the end of the Academy, schools will have created a strategic plan to implement high-quality STEM in their school. Academy schools are encouraged to apply for the Governor’s STEM School Designation after having implemented their strategic plans.
“In addition to learning about best practices in STEM education, we also hope our Academy schools learn from each other. We want to create a STEM school community across the State that lifts all schools,” said Tracey Gaffney, OSIT’s STEM Program Manager.
At the first Academy workshop, several foundational subjects were discussed, including the definition of STEM, STEM integration across different core content areas, and engineering design and science and engineering principles. Schools were introduced to the Nevada STEM Framework and Nevada STEM School Action Guide that advance schools toward the STEM School Designation.
A few of the participants commented on their experience with the first workshop:
“This was a lot of information and I couldn't do it justice sharing it with my school, so I'm really glad so many of my teachers could make it,” said one elementary school teacher.
“I can see buy-in from different content areas if we approach it through the [science and engineering] practices,” said one middle school administrator.
“Using the rubric, I see that we have a ways to go, but we can see where we should focus and make the greatest impact,” said another middle school administrator.
Future topics to be covered by the Academy include teaching through inquiry, teamwork, equity, STEM careers and community partnerships, using phenomenon, leadership, and grant writing. OSIT will also make site visits to each Academy school to meet with a broader group of staff and provide customized training.
More information about the STEM Leaders Academy can be found here or follow us on Twitter @SciNVtech.