Monday, May 8, 2017

Teachers Head to Big Apple for STEM Conference

The SBISD team at an evening networking social in New York City.
Pine Shadows Elementary teachers Josephine Stringer, Miranda Wilson and Kathleen Hartsell, along with Westwood Elementary’s Angelique Moulton, were among the nearly 300 partners, educators and guests in attendance at the 2017 100Kin10 Summit, a national STEM learning event host by 100Kin10, in New York City last month.

Held at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, the summit featured presentation and feedback sessions by educators from around the nation.

100Kin10 unites the country’s top academic institutions, nonprofits, foundations, companies, and government agencies to train and support STEM educators. 100Kin10 is committed to adding 100,000 excellent STEM teachers to America’s classrooms by 2021.

STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – in an interdisciplinary, applied approach. STEM education builds critical thinking, increased science literacy, and the capacity to solve problems and innovate.

SBISD educators at the summit were all recently recognized for their work on a STEM-focused, district-led design challenge initiative aimed at cultivating curiosity and problem-solving.

The district design challenge initiative, spearheaded by the SBISD Research and Design Division, is part of ongoing learning collaboration with other educators through Ideo and the Teacher’s Guild.

From curiosity cabinets to connecting with astronauts planning a mission to Mars, educators and students in the challenge had an exciting and diverse range of learning experiences. Winning challenges included:

•    Josephine Stringer – Literature and STEM Connections
•    Miranda Wilson and Kathleen Hartsell – STEM Bins for Early Finishers
•    Angelique Moulton – Mars Colonization and Roaming Rovers

While open to all SBISD educators and any challenge, the use of STEM as part of the solution was critical in the process. This laser focus was a catalyst for problem-solving that served to bridge the district challenge and the national summit event.

For Kathleen Hartsell, the entire experience was a way to “walk the walk” when it comes to the school district’s core values.

“This opportunity demanded radical thinking, limitless curiosity, and a passion to be a change agent in the field of education,” said Hartsell. 

“It was an honor to be picked as a winner in the SBISD STEM challenge and to be able to attend the 100K in 10 Summit in New York,” said Josephine Stringer who was selected for her marriage of literacy and STEM. “I truly just feel like a representative of so many teachers in our district who deserve the same recognition for their work in STEM education.”

For Stringer, the ability to find peers and a platform to share are paramount for educators facing the current, fast-evolving landscape of effective, relevant teaching and learning.

“We must work collaboratively to design sustainable, meaningful solutions that work for our kids,” said Stringer. “I was able to collaborate with other educators and partners. It’s thrilling.”

As Hartsell and her peers settle back into end-of-year routines and reflect on their experiences in the design challenge and the summit in New York, they’re already looking ahead to next school year.

“It reminded me that I never, ever want to stop learning, whether it’s from my students, other educators, like-minded individuals or those who challenge my ideas,” said Hartsell. “It is a driving force in my development to be the best teacher I can.”

Recognizing the importance that educators, schools, businesses and local leaders have as partners in the success of today’s students, Moulton’s already hard at work curating a list of potential community and industry leaders to contact as thought partners and supporters.

“It is well understood that future astronauts, authors, engineers, scientist, policy makers, etc. are sitting our classrooms today,” said Moulton. “Their learning only becomes relevant once we connect them beyond the school building and to the real world.”

To learn more about 100Kin10, click here. If you’re interested in supporting educators in SBISD, visit our partner page here. Or, contact SBISD Coordinator for Strategic Partnerships and Volunteer Programs, Abby Walker at (713) 251-2289.


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