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
- Missed signals: The effect of ACT college-readiness measures on post-secondary decisions
- What We’re Missing In Measuring Who’s Ready For College
- Does the ACT really tell you if you’re ready for college?
- Just 26 percent of ACT test-takers are prepared for college
- STEM Education Award for Inspired Teaching video
STEM in Iowa’s Re-Envisioned Economic Development Roadmap (2014 Battelle Report), Kathryn Kunert & Carrie Rankin
- See Iowa’s 2014 Battelle Report
- Peek Into a STEM Classroom: Hoover High School
- Peek Into a STEM Classroom: Mt. Pleasant Middle School
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?!]