New ideas gleaned on STEM school study visits
June 20, 2012 - More than two dozen North Carolina educators and business leaders dispersed this week to the Midwest to gather first-hand information about how innovative schools elsewhere are solving one of the key education challenges for this generation: teaching critical skills in science, technology, engineering and math -- STEM, in shorthand.
Three separate teams, including staff members of the NC New Schools Project, spent the last couple of days visiting STEM-focused schools in Ohio, Illinois and the New York-New Jersey area. The teams are comprised of principals, teachers, school board members and representatives from higher education, state government and businesses.
The goal of the fact-finding missions has been to further define the role of the anchor schools in North Carolina's statewide network of STEM schools and to seek best practices for developing and sustaining purposeful partnerships, meaningful use of technology and performance-based assessments.
The study visits have been framed by these guiding questions:
- To what extent and in what ways do business and community partnerships provide STEM learning opportunities that extend the classroom walls and increase interest and skills in STEM?
- In what ways do partnerships with higher education support college and career readiness?
- What evidence is there of a rigorous and relevant STEM curriculum for all students?
Photo: NCNSP study visit group -- including teachers, a principal, and business and university partners -- shown with MC2 STEM High School Principal Jeff McClellan at the school's satellite campus at the Great Lakes Science Center.