ROI’s second cohort of STEM Fellows kicked off last week. Eighteen educators from schools in the Indiana Uplands gathered July 30-31 at WonderLab Museum to begin a year-long leadership and teaching program to advance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities in K-6 schools.
“Last year ROI had the pleasure of working with 15 forward-thinking and passionate elementary educators who were eager to become STEM experts in their schools,” said Director of Education and Workforce Todd Hurst. “This year,18 new educators join the fellowship, creating a network of 33 elementary teachers working to purposefully integrate STEM within their schools – a task that not only directly supports the key industry needs of the Uplands region, but also has the potential to change the lives of kids.”
The 2018-2019 STEM Fellow cohort includes:
|Brittney Bateman||Loogootee Elementary||Martin|
|Sherry Butcher||North Daviess Elementary||Daviess|
|Emily Freeman||Ireland Elementary||Dubois|
|Brad Garrison||Spencer Elementary||Owen|
|Amy Gordon||Sprunica Elementary||Brown|
|Lacey Higgins||North Elementary||Daviess|
|Audra Jahn||Fifth Street Elementary||Dubois|
|Seasonal Lawson||Loogootee Elementary||Martin|
|Michelle Mattox||Bloomfield Elementary||Greene|
|Aaron Pickett||Bradie Shrum Elementary||Washington|
|Clay Raber||North Daviess Elementary||Daviess|
|Jo Roach||Helen Griffith Elementary||Daviess|
|Kelly Schroering||Cedar Crest Intermediate||Dubois|
|Crystal Shellenberger||Throop Elementary||Orange|
|Cierra Simmons||Edgewood Primary||Monroe|
|Jennifer Solari||St. Vincent De Paul Catholic||Lawrence|
|Naomi Trojan||Needmore Elementary||Lawrence|
|Shannon Wagler||Loogootee Elementary||Martin|
The two-day kick-off event was an opportunity for STEM Fellows to work collaboratively and set the stage to help them begin to build a community of practice while developing both content knowledge and peer coaching skills. Fellows are encouraged to think deeper about STEM teaching and to leave with not only new lesson plans and ideas but also a better understanding of how to make connections to science, technology, engineering, and math throughout the instructional day. They also worked to develop skills that will help them become a STEM leader within their schools, share learnings with their colleagues, and encourage other teachers to integrate STEM into their own curriculum.
In addition to professional development activities, Cohort 2 STEM Fellows toured Cook Polymer in Bloomington to learn more about advanced manufacturing and to talk to an industry partner about skills needed for jobs at all levels.
The STEM Fellow program was developed in response to ROI’s Occupational Needs Assessment, which emphasizes the importance of having STEM-literate students to meet current and future workforce needs and to provide a basis for continued economic growth and prosperity in our region.
“In the world of today, STEM Skills equate to success and opportunity,” said CEO Tina Peterson. “Here at home, in the Indiana Uplands, we know that our key employers desperately need a workforce equipped to handle the rapid digitization of work. These elementary educators are forging a path that can only lead to greater success for students. Young people are naturally wired to be curious and engaged in all things STEM, and it makes no sense to wait until middle school or later to begin teaching STEM. ROI is excited to work with these dedicated professionals in empowering kids and educators to make STEM come alive in the elementary school years.”
During the 2018-2019 school year, STEM Fellows will participate in additional professional development activities focused on experiential learning, engineering design process, project-based learning, meaningful technology integration, coding and other relevant topics. Fellows will provide support to colleagues to grow the regional network of skilled STEM educators.
Fellows are expected to commit to being at the same school for at least two years and to serve as a STEMbassador to peers in future cohorts of STEM educators. Participants in the program receive a $2,500 stipend the first year and STEM resources and materials. Substitute teacher costs are also covered to allow Fellows to attend professional development throughout the year.
About Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc.:
The mission of Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc. (ROI) is to support economic and community prosperity in the 11 counties of the Indiana Uplands, a region encompassing Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen and Washington counties. ROI is implementing education and workforce initiatives and regional engagement initiatives for quality of place development. More information can be found at https://swcindiana.org/
More information on STEM Fellows: https://swcindiana.org/stem-fellows/.
Feature Video showcasing STEM Fellows in Cohort 1 & student experiences (2017-2018): https://youtu.be/xPhOQ41sOQA