Here are my notes from today’s 2015 Iowa STEM Summit…
Welcome, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds & Mary Andringa
STEM should be a catalyst for active learning
Launching a STEM Council Seal of Approval for programs (e.g. Exploring Iowa Archaeology)
Over 5,100 applications were submitted for STEM Scale-Up Grants
Numerous STEM externships are available for teachers
Peek Into a STEM Classroom: Sioux Center High School
Peek Into a STEM Classroom: Davenport West High School
Design a lunar space station
Opening Address, Kwizera Imani
Used to live in Kigoma, Tanzania
Family fled genocide and was chosen by the U.N. to move to the U.S.
Learned enough English to transition into regular classes in 8th grade, finished all high school coursework by 11th grade, now taking 5 AP classes as a senior
Will attend Iowa State U. this fall, majoring in Aerospace Engineering
In 9th grade, participated in an aviation program at the Des Moines International Airport
Iowa’s STEM Teaching Endorsement Partnership – Higher Education Plan, Jeff Weld & Kris Kilibarda
What does best practice for integrative STEM pedagogy look like?
How do endorsement seekers get engineering experience if the university doesn’t have an engineering program?
Can we graduate preservice teachers that come out of the gate with interdisciplinary STEM competencies?
Is ‘STEM pedagogy’ just layering applied PBL and inquiry lenses onto STEM subject areas?
There are many questions about these endorsements that still need to be answered
Lunch and STEM Education Awards for Inspired Teaching, Gov. Terry Branstad & Chris Nelson
We have STEM-focused model classrooms, STEM teacher licenses, STEM awareness campaigns, etc.
STEM education is sweeping the nation but Iowa’s enthusiasm is hard to match
Iowa’s 25th place math ranking shows we have work to do
Only 31% of Iowa’s kids meet the ACT requirements to be college-ready
STEM Education Award for Inspired Teaching video
STEM in Iowa’s Re-Envisioned Economic Development Roadmap (2014 Battelle Report), Kathryn Kunert & Carrie Rankin
Northwest Iowa STEM Region Breakout Session, Molly Faber & Mary Trent
Created a STEM and Scale-Up Introduction short course on AEA PD Online (explains each scale-up grant in ways that are easier, more accessible for teachers)
Wish this wasn’t locked down behind AEA PD Online (with quizzes!) instead of being openly accessible via a blog, web site, wiki, etc.
Breakout group questions
What’s going well in the NW region?
Outreach that Mary’s doing – PD for teachers – STEM day for 6th graders – there’s a lot of outreach occurring right now that is creating awareness
We also are seeing more business partnerships, co-sponsorships
Scale-up grant impacts have been favorable – are using them well in our district
World Food Prize – lots of supportive communities – we believe in making this happen
First Lego League – still getting emails about what’s going on – possible grants that are coming up – great communication
Girls Scouts – all girl Lego leagues, Engineering is Elementary – girls are empowered – Flying Monkeys prosthetic device patent!
Belie-Blank – Spencer CSD is doing math-science extracurricular with 6-8 graders
Prairie Lakes AEA – seeing lots of depth with Defined STEM
Sioux City CSD – opening a K-5 STEM specialty school in Fall 2015
What would we like to see more of in the NW region? What’s missing? What/who/where is the solution?
How do we assess student growth / development? Our current assessments aren’t up to the task.
Teacher preparation – higher ed isn’t giving us what we need – it could be better
Higher ed should be ahead of us, not behind us
We need more volunteers / mentors
Transportation is an issue – have to get a bus to get home
A continued focus on extracurricular instead of curricular – need to get this stuff into core classes, not just after school
Ongoing PD for teachers is an ongoing need
Rock Valley CSD – student-run manufacturing business?
Local college of education just touted this past fall that they had a smartboard that preservice teachers could learn on!
Can DE help us align all of these initiatives (e.g., STEM, Teacher Leadership, MTSS) together in better ways?
We need to do a better job of attaching learning standards to our STEM activities – we want to see learning progression occurring
STEM Education Award for Inspired Teaching Awardees (Panel), Kacia Cain, Lisa Chizek, Jason Franzenburg, Allison Gregg, Shelly Vanyo, Mike Wedge
SV – I no longer think of our space as a classroom – instead, we’re an innovative learning center – no textbooks, we’re a community that solves problems using every resource available to us (including others elsewhere)
LC – I try to model learning from mistakes
KC – I bring scientists into my classes a lot, but not as talking heads in front of kids – they help with projects – I identify where I could use an extra set of hands, brains, etc. – my kids then send a mass thank you note! –
Jeff Herzberg – why aren’t we giving $20K+ award to a school, not just individual exceptional faculty? – a group of teachers and administrators working together to make this happen?
Embrace the chaos, embrace messy learning
As a parent of an elementary student, my son has had no science this year – his principal says it’s because of the increased emphasis on reading and math [UGH!]
SV – I create opportunities for myself to give up control – I create dramatic chances for other teachers to ‘help me out’ – teachers were getting upset so I had a semester where I pretended that I wasn’t doing SBG – parents are our biggest advocates – I send brown bag experiments home with students to do with parents – homework: teach parents and have them email me what they learned
What have administrators done to infect others with your STEM awesomeness?
LC – I lead an annual STEM excellence fair and bring other teachers, community members in that way
KC – all of the people at Central Campus are experts in their areas so I had to be sure that I was on my game from Day 1
JF – teacher leadership program – we’re doing PBL training for all teachers – I assumed they already knew and were doing it, had to start over and go slower
AG – admins just let me set up a science club and I talked a colleague into joining me
Differentiation is often easier during hands-on performance tasks – have to listen, keep eyes and ears open to see/hear what they’re doing
Promoting STEM Careers From a School Counselor’s Point of View (Panel)
On average, Iowa counselors serve 429 students each
Counselors are uniquely trained in career theory and career development and uniquely positioned to bring various resources together to bear for the whole child – when you have 800-900 students, it’s physically impossible to do this, however
Most counselors have 60+ graduate hours – that’s a lot of expertise to waste serving on bus duty
At no time in my administrative licensure training did I receive guidance on how to most effectively use my counselor
Could say this about any role, not just counselors?
Local chambers of commerce and economic development organizations are nice resources for career / workforce information, speakers, data, etc.
Closing Remarks, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds & Mary Andringa
A book for everyone who made it to the end of the day, courtesy of DMACC
[As is typical for these statewide summits, the day was heavy on sit-and-get with extremely little interaction… As I’ve said before, can’t we figure out some way to tap into the collective wisdom, expertise, and experience of the 500+ people here?!]