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.