STEM Educators 1.9
1.9 - STEM teachers and leaders participate in a continuous program of STEM-specific professional learning.
Teachers at BMSA are given multiple opportunities to learn best practices in STEM education. For example, all STEM educators actively participate in professional learning communities and collaborate in grade level meetings to plan and develop project based learning units that align with the new Idaho Core Science Standards and integrate other subject areas. We have sought out specialized training to help us in this effort. For example, this past year we contracted with the Lee Pesky Learning Center to receive training on how to supplant some of our adopted reading curriculum to better align with our PBL learning needs.
In order to stay current with best practices in the field, opportunities also exist for STEM educators to attend and/or present at conferences or workshops regarding science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or STEM education at large. For example, all STEM educators are provided the opportunity to attend iSTEM hosted annually by the Idaho STEM Action Center, as well as, professional development opportunities hosted by our school and our district. Furthermore, STEM educators in our school have received additional training through programs such as the Business Educator Exchange, Elementary Teacher Institute for Science, Literacy and Inquiry, International Society for Technology in Education, Picademy, ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, Project Lead The Way, STEM Action Center of Idaho and the National Science Teachers Association.
Additionally, for the past six years, three to five educators and some students have attended and presented at the annual IETA educational technology conference. Three of our educators have participated in teaching the Science Pathway of the Boise State Writing Project. Moreover, BMSA has a digital integration lead and digital tech lead who facilitate regular training opportunities for all staff. Student leaders participate weekly in maintaining tech equipment, assisting staff, and occasionally offer training workshops to educators.
Professional Learning at Barbara Morgan STEM Academy
A Professional Learning Community
BMSA is a professional learning community. Teachers meet at least once a week to discuss student learning, achievement data, and to plan instruction together. Grade level teachers are also afforded a daily common prep period to aid in their PLC efforts. This ensures all students benefit from curriculum that aligns with the Idaho Core Standards. At BMSA there is a focus on designing instruction that embraces an inquiry approach to learning and integrates the instruction of content standards through the implementation of Project Based Learning. Grade level teams work each week on analyzing achievement data and planning these PBL projects to utilize instructional strategies that prove to have the highest effect size. BMSA teachers also collaborate with professionals throughout the West Ada school district. We have worked with other STEM schools to plan Science units, and worked with Digital Tech and Integration Leads in other schools. BMSA teachers have also collaborated with teachers and leaders around the state to learn more about implementing the new Science Standards. In addition, BMSA has partnered with Boise State University and Indiana University to analyze curriculum and instructional strategies being used in our school, and to publish the researched results in educational journals.
Professional Learning Opportunities
All STEM educators have multiple opportunities to grow professionally by attending STEM-related workshops or conferences. Opportunities include building in-services, district classes, the Idaho Math and Science Teachers Conference, optional school funded membership to the National Science Teachers Association, and the annual iSTEM conference hosted by the Idaho STEM Action Center to name a few. Building in-services are differentiated to provide teachers with the specific help they are needing to grow as a STEM educator. Prior to building in-services, teachers complete a survey to sign up for specific workshops that address their specific training needs. At BMSA we work together to elevate our professional practice through collaboration and intentional professional development.
Training Opportunities | Digital Integration & Technology
The "T" in STEM stands for "technology." BMSA teachers receive specific professional development in technology integration on an ongoing basis. BMSA has a designated Technology and Digital Integration Lead Teacher that provides ongoing support and training to ensure our teachers are up to date on the latest and best practices in technology infused learning. Building technology trainings are differentiated to provided each teacher with the proper level of support. Our building Tech Lead routinely sends out surveys to determine what technology training is needed by our teachers and tailors our professional development to meet those needs. In addition to training teachers directly, our building Tech Lead trains a team of students to provide training and IT support to staff and students. Our District technology department also sends out weekly updates on tech integration tips and available professional development opportunities offered through the District. Finally, our teachers have the opportunity to attend regional technology training offered through other organizations such as the International Society for Technology in Education, Picademy, ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, Project Lead The Way and the National Science Teachers Association.
BMSA Educators Lead The Way
BMSA STEM educators are leading the way by training and mentoring other STEM educators throughout the state of Idaho. First, some of our STEM educators are participating in teaching the science pathway for the State Department of Education, which is contracted through the Boise State Writing Project. In this program, teachers are systematically taught how to create inquiry units that align with the new Idaho Core Science Standards. These units are archived at the state department. Once participants have completed the writing project and the fellowship year, they become teacher/thinking partners for other teachers throughout the State of Idaho. One of our BMSA educators that has participated in the Boise State Writing Project was contracted by the State Dept. of Education to co-teach Science and Literacy workshops throughout the State to equip elementary teachers to develop integrated science units and increase the rigor and relevance of science instruction. Second, BMSA educators and students have presented at the annual three day IETA educational technology conference in Boise, Idaho for the past six years. BMSA teachers have also lead presentations about STEM Integration, Technology Integration, and Computer Programming & Coder's Clubs at this conference. For the last 3 years, our students have also lead sessions on STEM skills and Coding Activities. As we learn and grow we are eager to give back and share our learning with the greater STEM community, knowing that doing so elevates STEM education in our region and throughout the State.