Donald Elementary Becomes First Texas Elementary School to Earn National Certificate for STEM Excellence from National Institute for STEM Education

Perry Scopes
Posted by on July 10, 2018  at 

Lewisville ISD’s first STEM academy earns campus certification integrating research and best practices in STEM, 21st century learning, and professional development

HOUSTON — July 10, 2018 — Donald Elementary is the first elementary school in Texas to earn the National Certificate for STEM Excellence from the National Institute for STEM Education (NISE). The K-5 school will also be the first STEM Academy in the Lewisville Independent School District (ISD), which is located just north of Dallas.

“For us, the NISE certification process was about digging deeper into what STEM truly means and what that looks like in the classroom,” said Michelle Wooten, principal of Donald Elementary. “The certification process took things much deeper than a textbook could. It helped us gain a different perspective about STEM education. It allowed me to look into our classrooms with a different lens that’s more inquiry-based, and it helped me set STEM goals for our campus that are much more specific. It helped our teachers develop their STEM teaching skills and become better equipped to provide opportunities for students across all of those disciplines — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”

The National Certificate for STEM Excellence recognizes individual school campuses for their commitment to and growth in teachers’ implementation of 21st century and STEM strategies. With the support of an experienced STEM coach, 22 teachers at Donald Elementary completed the National Certificate in STEM Teaching (NCST), while the school concurrently completed its requirements for the National Certificate in STEM Excellence-Campus Certificate (NCSE).

“Each teacher who became certified took away something different based on what they teach, whether it’s art, science, math, or language arts,” said Wooten. “We’re proud to be STEM certified, and we’re grateful for the opportunity we’ve had. It’s something that everybody will benefit from — our teachers, students, and parents. We look forward to seeing where the future takes us.”

The Lewisville ISD STEM Academy at Donald Elementary is set to officially open in August.


About the National Institute for STEM Education

NISE is more than a certifying body. It is a research-based support system for campuses and teachers seeking to strengthen STEM instruction and outcomes. For information, visit http://nise.institute.

NISE STEM Teacher Certification was an eye-opener for program’s 400th graduate

Whitney Dove
Posted by on June 20, 2018  at 

 

Gena Schleimer says earning the National Certificate for STEM Teaching has given her more confidence in preparing her students for their futures.

 

By Jamie LaGesse

Independent work took on a whole new meaning in Gena Schleimer’s science classroom during the past year.

Gena, a seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher at St. Agnes Catholic School in Roeland Park, Kansas, is the 400th graduate of the National Institute for STEM Education Teacher Certification program. She describes the self-paced STEM certification program as “eye-opening.”

Gena credits the self-reflection component of NISE’s teacher certification with her classroom transformation. “I saw the biggest change in my practice when I really turned over the reigns to students. I had thought I was doing that a lot before, but it wasn’t even close to what I could have been doing,” she laughed.

“When I had [students] process through and allowed them time to think critically instead of me interrupting them all the time to ‘help,’ the growth I saw was amazing.”

Gena added her students’ assessment scores have “gone through the roof” on the Kansas state test, as well as their scores for NWEA MAP, a national assessment that gauges students’ proficiency and growth in science, math, reading and English Language Arts.

Continue reading “NISE STEM Teacher Certification was an eye-opener for program’s 400th graduate”

Top 4 STEM Career Fields (Plus Some You May Have Not Considered)

Marissa Alonzo
Posted by on May 23, 2018  at 

 

By Jamie LaGesse

As teachers, we often struggle with student buy-in and engagement. We’ve heard the question many times: “why do I need to learn this?”

As STEM teachers, we could answer with any of the following: “job stability”, “economic growth,” or “for your future.” All of these responses are true, but none will resonate quite as much as this one: MONEY.

Continue reading “Top 4 STEM Career Fields (Plus Some You May Have Not Considered)”

Whitesburg Elementary Becomes First School in Georgia to Earn National Certificate for STEM Excellence from National Institute for STEM Education

Marissa Alonzo
Posted by on May 11, 2018  at 

Rural, Title I school in Carroll County earns certification integrating the most recent research and best practices in STEM, 21st century learning, and professional development 

 

Whitesburg Elementary School, a rural, Title I school in the Carroll County School System, is the first school in Georgia to earn the National Certificate for STEM Excellence from the National Institute for STEM Education (NISE). The National Certificate for STEM Excellence recognizes individual school campuses for their commitment to and growth in teacher’s implementation of 21st century and STEM strategies.

Continue reading “Whitesburg Elementary Becomes First School in Georgia to Earn National Certificate for STEM Excellence from National Institute for STEM Education”

4 Effective Alternatives to Multiple-Choice Assessments

Marissa Alonzo
Posted by on May 10, 2018  at 

 

science teacher working on a project-based assignment in class.

 

By Jamie LaGesse

As a teacher, you carefully craft your lesson plan to allow students multiple ways to interact with the content. You plan hands-on activities or labs, integrate cooperate learning strategies, and give time to practice calculations. After days of working through content using carefully selected activities enabling students to practice what they are learning, it is time for the assessment.  You draft a multiple-choice exam covering the material, grade the tests, and record the data. But how do you know what they really learned? Did the students who scored poorly on the assessment not learn anything? Did the students who scored well really master the material?

Continue reading “4 Effective Alternatives to Multiple-Choice Assessments”

What is STEM? Settling into a Definition that Works

Marissa Alonzo
Posted by on May 4, 2018  at 

 

What is STEM?

 

By: Jamie LaGesse

If you were to ask teachers, parents, or students this question, you would get a wide variety of responses:

“Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.”

“The use of project-based learning to guide instruction.”

“Educators helping students develop workforce skills.”

All of these answers are scattered but absolutely correct. If you are defining STEM based on inputs, or tools and instructional strategies considered best practices in STEM classrooms. But, what really is the endgame when it comes to STEM instruction? Continue reading “What is STEM? Settling into a Definition that Works”

Putting the “T” in STEM on a Shoestring Budget

Marissa Alonzo
Posted by on April 18, 2018  at 

 

Putting technology in STEM

 

By Jamie LaGesse 

The word “technology” usually brings to mind images of smartphones, tablets, and computers. These devices are pretty incredible, giving us access to the entire World Wide Web with the swipe of a fingertip. Yet, thinking of “technology” in these terms is very limiting. A quick search on dictionary.com defines “technology” as the development of knowledge for practical purposes, usually to satisfy a need or solve a problem.

Continue reading “Putting the “T” in STEM on a Shoestring Budget”

Putting ‘School’ and ‘Real’ Worlds on a Collision Course to Maximize Student Learning

Marissa Alonzo
Posted by on April 5, 2018  at 

 

By: Jamie LaGesse

Why do I need to learn this? It’s a question every teacher has faced at one time or another. So, how do we convince students that what they are doing in the classroom matters? It’s simple, really. We stop creating a gap between the “real” world and the “school world.” What does that even mean? Which world are we living in if not the real one? Doesn’t it make more sense to empower students to see the connections between their learning and the world outside of school?

This approach eliminates the conceptualization of two distinct and separate worlds and builds in students an understanding that their learning is immediately applicable and necessary. Our role as STEM teachers is to help make the classroom environment look and feel more like the external environment, so students can move between the two comfortably.

So, how do we blur — or even erase — that invisible line between the “real” and “schools” worlds? We could go about this by making connections in two directions: into and out of the classroom.

Continue reading “Putting ‘School’ and ‘Real’ Worlds on a Collision Course to Maximize Student Learning”

How to connect STEM to your Standards

Marissa Alonzo
Posted by on August 28, 2017  at 

By: Amanda James

Most teachers we talk to agree that their students struggle with critical thinking, problem-solving ability, and reasoning. We also know that many students lack the skills they need to read information, extract important points within the text, and synthesize what they have read (Barrow, 2006).

So, how can we remedy this problem and better prepare our students for the workforce? At NISE, we believe the answer is to immerse students in STEM learning. STEM can be understood as simply integrating the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Or, it can describe an approach to learning that enables students to take an active role in the asking of questions and solving of problems. This second interpretation applies a STEM mindset to all disciplines, not only science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Continue reading “How to connect STEM to your Standards”

Why Do Teacher Actions Matter in STEM Education?

Marissa Alonzo
Posted by on August 3, 2017  at 

By: Amanda James

Think back to your first year of teaching. Whether you had just graduated from college where you majored in education or had completed an alternative certification program, most people can remember their first year of teaching like it was yesterday. At the end of  your first year, your sense of satisfaction came from surviving all the unexpected trials you encountered. You were required to observe master teachers and take notes on how they ran their classroom. So, what made their classes good? Continue reading “Why Do Teacher Actions Matter in STEM Education?”