STEM, the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, is an interdisciplinary approach to learning and an important part of preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s world. To help build that generation of knowledgeable students requires well-trained professional educators and a commitment from school leaders and communities to ensure understanding and access to the tools and concepts applied in a STEM-rich learning environment.
The Indiana Department of Education has given priority to STEM learning, encouraging schools to engage in the process of becoming a STEM-certified school. Schools are chosen based on their commitment to teaching and STEM certified schools “exemplify a highly non-traditional approach to education, employing a great deal of inquiry, project-based learning, community engagement, entrepreneurship, student-centered classrooms, integration into humanities and related arts, and out-of-school STEM activities (source: IDOE Memo from Amy Rauch Director of STEM announcing Cohort 4 STEM certified school. Among the Indiana STEM certified schools are the following from IUSA member districts:
Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp.
- Columbus Signature Academy New Tech High School
Elkhart Community Schools
- Roosevelt STEAM Academy
Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp
- Helfrich Park STEM Academy
- New Tech Institute
- Southern Indiana Career & Technical Center
Kokomo School Corp
- Maplecrest Middle School
- Lafayette Sunnyside Intermedia
MSD of Lawrence Township
- Indian Creek Elementary Magnet School of STEM
- Skiles Test Elementary
- Belzer Middle School
- McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology
Michigan City Area Schools
- Barker Middle School
- Lake Hills Elementary
Monroe County Community School Corp.
- Academy of Science & Entrepreneurship
- Batchelor Middle School
- Grandview Elementary
MSD of Pike Township
- Eagle Creek Elementary
- Fishback Creek Public Academy
- Guion Creek Middle School
- Pike Career & STEM Center (STEM certified program)
South Bend Community Schools
- Kennedy Primary Center
- Madison Primary Center
MSD of Warren Township
- Walker Career Center
MSD of Wayne Township
- Area 31 Career Center
- Ben Davis 9 Grade Center
- Ben Davis University High School
- Chapel Hill
- Lynhurst 7 and 8 Grade Center
- Robey Elementary
- Stout Field Elementary
Regardless of whether a school is STEM-certified, there are many examples of STEM teaching and learning across IUSA’S member districts. The schools and districts recognize that the fastest growing careers will require skills from one or more STEM fields. At least twenty-five IUSA member school corporations have schools that partnered with Project Lead the Way (PLTW) to enrich learning in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science through hands-on learning. One district is kicking off a STEM/STEAM initiative with Discovery Education while another is hosting a week of Code. Two districts are among the small group awarded a competitive 2018-2019 STEM K-6 Acceleration Grant from the Indiana Department of Education. Science fairs have been redesigned to feature STEM projects. High school students are attending STEM conferences and bringing back knowledge to share with classmates and their schools. At all levels, students are participating in in-school or after-school robotics teams where students collaborate and problem-solve using math and engineering concepts to create and tweak their mechanical bots.
The professional educators across IUSA’s members know the value and importance of continuing the work to bring STEM into the classroom. They are capturing the curious minds of children in their schools and offering ways for them to become invigorated by the disciplines in STEM. At least one elementary teacher from an IUSA district was selected as a member of the State STEM Council and another is using a Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowship to create a sci-fi film to help students better understand STEM. Two of the four students on Governor Holcomb’s STEM team are from our IUSA member districts. And many of our member districts and schools are enriched with the tools necessary to help them grow STEM education in the classrooms.
IUSA member districts are preparing a generation of students ready for our ever-changing and challenging world!