STEM Educators 1.8
1.8 - STEM learning outcomes demonstrate students' STEM literacy necessary for the next level of STEM learning and for post-secondary and workforce readiness.
Our teachers at Barbara Morgan STEM Academy develop students’ STEM literacy, which is necessary for the next level of STEM learning for post-secondary and workforce readiness. We accomplish this by systematically embracing David T. Conley’s four pillars of College and Career Readiness: THINK– Key Cognitive Strategies, ACT – Key Learning Skills and Techniques, KNOW – Key Content Knowledge, and GO – Key Transition Knowledge and Skill. These four critical aspects of college and career readiness are a central part of our District’s instructional model. This is not only embraced by Barbara Morgan STEM Academy, but the entire West Ada School District across all grade levels which has college and career readiness as the foundation of the curriculum. As defined by David T. Conley, “The college and career ready student envisioned by this definition is able to understand what is expected in a college course, can cope with the content knowledge that is presented, and can take away from the course the key intellectual lessons and skills the course was designed to convey and develop.” Not only do teachers at Barbara Morgan prepare students for college and career, they prepare them to succeed. “Succeed is defined as completing the entry-level courses or core certificate courses at a level of understanding and proficiency that makes it possible for the student to consider taking the next course in the sequence or the next level of course in the subject area or of completing a certificate.”
One of the many ways we prepare students to succeed in post-secondary education and in the workforce is by implementing Project-Based Learning (PBL). PBLs are driven by student interest in the form of questions and are then formed into approved projects rather than the traditional teacher-driven approach. As defined by David T. Conley “Project based learning model emphasizes inquisitiveness, intellectual openness, analysis, and interpretation of multiple types of information.” Conley also stated, “Furthermore, in order to engage in project-based learning successfully, students must learn how to manage their time, create to-do lists, request help when needed, and persist through difficulty.” With PBLs, the projects are intentionally made to be directly connected to careers that match the problem at hand. STEM Literacy, next level opportunities, and workforce readiness are all addressed when preparing for and completing these PBLs.
College & Career Readiness at Barbara Morgan STEM Academy
Purposeful and relevant Project Based Learning (PBL) investigations are demonstrated in our PBL planning document along with the real world results, which are exhibited in the students' exploration of the PBL and the final products. When students share their final presentation, they are not only able to explain the investigation and product, they are also able to explain what they will do with their learning and how it can help them create a better future.
STEM Literacy is implemented during the school day and in after school clubs. Students are required to work in group settings and implement the tools necessary to successfully interact with others in all situations. Academic speech is intentionally taught to introduce and practice respectful dialogue and understand the expectations for communication. Students are then able to practice this use of dialogue while discussing important topics in several areas, including student led parent-teacher conferences, group settings within and outside of the classroom, and Socratic seminars. These seminars provide students with the tools to debate a topic in a respectful, mature manner and the opportunity to express their opinions in an educated manner.
Next Level Opportunities
There are several Next Level Opportunities provided. Students are not only able present to their classmates, staff, and parents, they have also presented at a variety of conferences. Leadership opportunities include successfully volunteering at the public library and leading the prospective students tours for parents at BMSA.
David T. Conley’s four pillars of college and career readiness are embraced in order to demonstrate workforce readiness: THINK – Key Cognitive Strategies, ACT – Key Learning Skills and Techniques, KNOW – Key Content Knowledge, and GO – Key Transition Knowledge and Skill. Teachers are able to promote an interactive and engaging environment between businesses and educators by attending the Business Teacher Exchange and then incorporating that information into the classroom along with relevant guest speakers. Creating an actual employer/employee setting among the students with an economy setting creates a real world experience in some classrooms.