Weber School District teachers Kim Murphy and Dale Slade were nominated and selected to attend a workshop for 100 "Superstar" Computer Science teachers from across the nation. The workshop was sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT). It was held Dec 8th & 9th in Washington D.C. in conjunction with National Computer Science Education Week. The conference included speakers from the staff of the Science Education Adviser to the President of the United States. Code.org founder, Hadi Partovi, also spoke to the teachers in the Eisenhower Administration building in the White House complex.
NSF has funded many activities over the years aimed at reaching all students that may have an interest in Computer Science. NCWIT strives to encourage woman in technology including high school girls pursuing a computer career.
The workshop provided the opportunity to learn about new developments in the Exploring Computer Science and Computer Science Principles courses. Kim and Dale also were able to gain new teaching insights from other Computer Science Teachers in attendance. Dale and Kim presented a "Nifty Lesson" about gravity simulation in the Scratch computer language to the other teachers.
Kim Murphy has taught Computer Science courses at Weber High for 15 years. She has developed several outstanding Computer Science course curricula that many Computer Science Teachers through Utah use in their courses. She is one of the very few Computer Science teachers in Utah that have earned her master's degree in Computer Science.
Dale Slade has taught Computer Science in Weber School District for over 30 years and is currently teaching at Bonneville High. He currently serves as the Vice President of the Computer Science Teachers Association of Utah.
This month the Weber School District was given the opportunity to recognize Mrs. Karen Harsha and Mr. Gerald Bischoff during our monthly school board meeting. Mrs. Harsha was nominated for the Extra Mile Award by Principal Mike Geilmann of West Weber Elementary, and Mr. Bischoff was nominated for the Super Sub Award by Prinicpal Mike Skeen of Pioneer Elementary.
Karen Harsha has worn many hats during her years of service at West Weber Elementary. Working as West Weber's PTA president, Karen was instrumental in getting a new playground installed. She raised thousands of dollars to fund the project, and she and her family volunteered countless hours working to finish the project. Karen was later hired as the media specialist at West Weber. It was in this role that she made a point to get to know each student individually. She took this position prior to our current technology, and Karen spent many nights well past her contracted hours organizing books via non-automated procedures to ensure that she was well prepared to provide her students with a meaningful library experience the next day. Over the years, Karen's roles evolved and progressed to office aide, testing aide, and finally, she was handpicked by the Director of Elementary Education to fill in as a long term substitute for Uintah Elementary's head secretary. Despite the staff and faculty at Uintah wanting her to stay and continue in that capacity, she returned to West Weber to serve in her home community. This has been Karen's first year as the head secretary at West Weber Elementary. Mr. Geilmann describes her as "the epitome of the 'heartbeat' of the school. Virtually everything revolves around her disposition and secretarial skills." Mr. Geilmann wishes to express his sincere gratitude to Mrs. Harsha for taking the head secretary job at West Weber. Without a doubt, her service in this capacity has greatly enriched the West Weber community.
It is not uncommon to hear groans of dismay when students learn that they will be having a substitute teacher in their classes. Not so when they learn that their substitute is Mr. Gerald Bischoff! "Mr. B" has been working as a substitute teacher in the Weber District for over 20 years. He is a good-natured gentleman who employs a caring disposition and gentle teasing to disarm even the most stubborn child. Mrs. Mueller reports that many crying children have been told that he will "take them down to the cooks and make a leg sandwich" and "replace their hurt leg with a bionic one so they can run faster and jump higher." In no time, cries are replaced by giggles. Popular with both staff and students, he has given the "Mr. B" citizenship award at the end of the year to two students in each 6th grade class. Mr. Bischoff has taught in all but four of the schools in the district. He is comfortable walking into any classroom and taking over any situation. Mrs. Mueller states "We love having Gerald as a sub at Pioneer. Gerald is a wonderful substitute. He is a delight to work with and has a true love for the children of Weber School District."
Congratulations to these two deserving award winners. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to recognize your unique gifts and talents. We express our gratitude for your dedication and enthusiasm!
On Saturday, January 24th, three elementary schools in the Weber School District had the opportunity to participate in the regional VEX IQ Challenge. This challenge is sponsored by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, and is a brand-new STEM program for elementary and middle school students. Students from MarLon Hills, Green Acres, and Country View represented their schools in this innovative and fun robotics challenge.
VEX IQ is a robotics platform that brings STEM learning to life for young students and their teachers. Kids as young as 8 years of age are eligible to participate. VEX IQ robots are built from a kit, similar to LEGO. The structural pieces snap together without tools and are powered by a variety of gears, wheels, and other accessories. Each robot is controlled by a "Robot Brain" which is essentially a programmable remote control device.
During the skills challenge, teams work together scoring points in Teamwork Matches by moving scoring cubes into the scoring zone and building high-rises. Teams are randomly paired, each with one robot and two drivers. Drivers take turns driving the robot and hand off the robot controller from one driver to the other mid-match. During the Robot Skills Challenge, one robot and two driver score as many points as possible under driver control during a one-minute match. Finally, during the Programming Skills Challenge, one robot scores as many points as possible autonomously (completing tasks without driver control).
This was the first year that Weber School District participated in the challenge, and all our teams did quite well. Congratulations to the Green Acres 640X team on winning the "Teamwork Champion Award," the "Programming Skills Champion Award," and the "Robot Skills Champion Award." The 640X team has qualified to move on to the Utah State Robotic Championship. Also of note, the Green Acres 640T team was given the "STEM Research Project Award." Congratulations to these up and coming engineers!
Weber School District is excited to announce the opening of a new high school beginning in the fall of 2015. Weber Innovation High School, located at 1007 W. 12th Street in Ogden, will offer students the opportunity to master and accelerate their learning using an innovative combination of digital curriculum and traditional face time courses.
In partnership with Weber State University, Snow College and Ogden Weber Applied Technology College, students will have multiple opportunities to earn early college credit and pursue career certifications.
Online applications and/or more information regarding Weber Innovation High School for incoming 9th, 10, or 11th grade students can be found at http://innovation.wsd.net/index.php/parents/registration-information .
This month the Weber School District had the opportunity to recognize Marybai Huking and Stephanie Holbrook during our monthly school board meeting. Marybai is a student at Fremont whose accomplishments in the face of adversity are nothing short of remarkable. Stephanie Holbrook is a parent volunteer extraordinaire who has kick-started an art program at Valley Elementary which has inspired student creativity and a love of art.
Marybai Huking was nominated for the Excellence in Achievement Award by Dr. Rod Belnap, Principal of Fremont High School. Marybai's scholastic and athletic achievements are impressive. This young woman is a member of the National Honor Society, maintains a 4.0 GPA, earned a score of 30 on the ACT, and is a member of the Olympic Goal Ball team. In addition, she donates countless hours in the service of others with civic and leadership responsibilities including being the yearbook editor. What makes Marybai particularly special is that she has achieved these things in the face of great adversity: Marybai is blind. Despite this, she has not allowed her physical challenges to limit her achievements or her dreams. Dr. Belnap states that "Marybai is a young lady with determination and grit who has the unique ability to identify the good in each of her peers and inspire them to use these abilities". He tells the story of when Marybai arrived to take her AP test, and due to some confusion, the adapted test with extra-large font that they had ordered for her had not arrived. "Instead of becoming disheartened or discouraged, Marybai took the same test that every other student took, even with the severe visual impairment". She went on to score a 5 on the test, the highest possible score. We are honored to recognize Marybai Huking with our Excellence in Achievement Award.
The importance of art education is an undeniable component of a well-rounded curriculum. Creative activities are pertinent building blocks of child development. Mrs. Stephanie Holbrook of Valley Elementary PTO is a parent volunteer who has played a crucial part in strengthening children's art education. "Art Start" is an art-based lesson curriculum delivered by a small force of parent volunteers. Mrs. Holbrook personally created these lesson plans to ensure that the children of Valley Elementary were learning about art history, notable artists, and art styles in addition to musical composers and genres. Each lesson includes a student art project. At the end of the school year, the students' artwork is showcased in a whole-school art show. The students and teachers look forward to this remarkable program and enjoy exploring their creativity through art projects and music. Mrs. Holbrook's involvement is not limited to the Art Start program, however. She also volunteers in the reading program and multiple other PTO programs and efforts at the school. Mrs. Holbrook was nominated by Principal Hales and was chosen to receive the Volunteerism Award for the month of January 2015.
Congratulations to these remarkable women. It is our privilege to recognize their efforts. We express our appreciation and gratitude for their willingness to enrich the lives of students, faculty, staff, and others in the Weber School District community.
It's not every day that an astronaut comes to your school to speak but that's exactly what happened for students at H. Guy Child Elementary thanks to ATK and volunteer Shannon Sebahar who helped coordinate the event.
Kent Rominger, NASA Astronaut and former Navy fighter pilot, came to H. Guy Child to talk with students about the life of an astronaut. Rominger, who has been to space no less than five times, told students about the importance of hard work, math and science, and teamwork while showing them pictures and videos of his time working on the International Space Station.
Students had the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the assembly and they were very interested in what everyday life was like in space. Rominger answered questions about black holes, astronaut ice cream, floating in space, where he went in space, and how time in space works. He also told students about NASA's current project, a new rocket that will be going to Mars. Whispers were heard and energy was felt as he told students, "You all are the perfect age to go on this rocket and go to Mars. "Several students raised their hands and told Rominger they wanted to "...be an astronaut just like him."
Rominger came to the school as part of World Space Week. World Space Week is the largest public space event on Earth. According to the World Space Week website, "More than 1,400 events in 80 countries celebrated the benefits of space and excitement of space [last year]." Other activities H. Guy Child participated in included having students trying to pick things up wearing large gloves to simulate how hard it is to do things in space, Alka-Seltzer rocket launches, and of course, eating astronaut ice cream. Students also signed a banner along with ATK employees that will be sent to the Kennedy Space Center in support of the Orion test launch taking place in December. The launch of the Orion capsule is part of the next generation of space travel and will enable people to travel to places such as asteroids outside of our atmosphere and even Mars, as Rominger talked about.
If you would like more information on World Space Week please visit http://www.worldspaceweek.org/
It is the time of year when most people's thoughts turn to family, treats, celebrations, and of course, giving. It is hard to resist the holiday spirit, and the folks at Weber School District are no exception. Many student groups at our secondary schools participate in yearly charitable drives to help local families in need, not just during Christmas season, but year round. All of our schools are getting into the spirit:
Fremont High School: The student government is busy with their yearly Kash-4-Kids charity drive. Activities and fundraisers are held which raise money that goes to help disadvantaged Fremont students and families year round with expenses such as medical bills, braces, and glasses.
Bonneville High: The Annual Shop with a Hero Project is in full swing. This is a program run by student body officers, and raises money for local police officers to take needy children Christmas shopping. Students get into the spirit of things by selling pizza, pancakes, and hot chocolate, and even play the part of Santa's elves in the parking lot.
Weber High: "Weekend Warriors" is a wonderful program where food packages are sent home with elementary aged children who face hunger outside of school. Funds are being raised to cover the $5,000 per-school price tag to keep these hungry children fed. In addition, students are helping to raise money to pay medical bills for a former WHS student who was in a tragic car accident just two days after graduation this past summer.
Wahlquist Junior High: Students have been very busy raising funds for their annual Sub-for-Santa Drive. So far, they have managed to raise $7000 to help approximately 10 needy families this year. Student body officers will shop for families, then will wrap and deliver the gifts before Christmas.
South Ogden Junior High: Food, fun, and games -- that's how the students at South Ogden Junior High school like to raise money for charity! Student body officers are right in the middle of their annual "South for Santa" charity drive. Students are selling hot chocolate during lunch and sponsoring class fundraising competitions. Events will conclude with a teacher vs. student dodgeball game. Funds raised will be spent purchasing Christmas gifts for deserving families which the SBOs will wrap and deliver.
Roy Junior High: Friendly competition between classrooms helped to spur the charitable spirit of students in raising nearly $700 to buy Christmas gifts for needy families at the school. In addition, students contributed to a food drive at the school's winter dance that raised both food and funds for the annual "Sub-for-Santa" campaign.
Snowcrest Junior High: During a two-week charity drive, Snowcrest students collected canned goods and money. Fun activities were held including a Chick-fil-A fundraiser, $10 Tuesday, a "traveling tree", a silent auction, and last but not least, students enjoyed the signing talents of the staff as they performed from class-to-class while collecting donations.
Orion Junior High: In conjunction with Weber High School, Orion students, faculty, and staff have managed to donate over 5000 cans of food and have raised $2475.00 to help families in their community.
We are proud of our students, faculty, and staff for their charitable spirit. It is our hope that many families will be touched by their efforts. Wishing everyone a peaceful and memorable holiday season with best wishes for the coming New Year.
To send an anonymous tip through the hotline, text the word "friends" then your message to 274637.
The Weber School District is pleased to introduce The Friends Hotline, an SMS Text-A-Tip application that allows students to anonymously submit information to participating law enforcement agencies and schools about situations that they feel are a threat to their safety or the safety of others. This is a secure application that allows the tipster and the investigator to have a two-way dialog while keeping the tipster’s identity completely anonymous. The program is being offered through a partnership with the Ogden Police Department Real Time Crime Center, the Weber County Sheriff’s Office, and all police departments in Weber County that serve our students.
Students may hesitant to report threatening behavior such as bullying, threats, fights, weapons, alcohol, drugs, sexual misconduct, dating violence, or suicidal behaviors for fear of retaliation. This valuable programs allows tipsters make anonymous reports both on and off campus. When a text message is received, it is sent to a computer system located in Canada. All identifiers (student phone number) on the text are stripped from the message, then forwarded to our representatives. The student will not be identified unless they wish to be.
To use the system, the student will begin their message with the word "friends", enter a space, list their school name and send the message to 274637. The word friends must be first and must be followed by a space or the message will fail. The word "friends" is not case sensitive. The student will receive a return text immediately asking them to call 911 if it is an emergency, and it provides the student an identifier code so that the computer can communicate with them. The counselor or SRO may then communicate with the student’s alias if the student allows. If the student does not wish to have further communication, they may text STOP and the texting will end.
Our goal is to allow students who are not comfortable speaking to our administration or school resource officers the opportunity to share information about their concerns. It is important for the students to know that all reports go to a real time crime center and are logged. Prank text messages will be treated seriously.
The Roy High School Counseling Department has set a lofty goal for its senior class this year. They aim to make sure that 100% of their seniors graduate from high school, and taking it one step further, they would like to see 100% of their graduates have the opportunity to go to college or technical training. November 17th-21st marked Roy High School's first annual College Application Week. A kick-off assembly was held, and staff decorated their doors with fanfare from their favorite schools. Ambassadors from local universities attended the kick-off to represent their schools and to answer any questions the students had.
The idea behind College Application Week was to improve accessibility to higher education for all students by guiding them through the application process. Counselor Pam Jacobsen explains that this process can be daunting, particularly for those who are first-generation college students. So often seniors do not know where to begin the application process, and many fear that they will not be accepted if they do apply. The computer lab was opened to the students where they were given the opportunity to submit applications to the schools of their choice with help from the counseling staff.
Oftentimes, a significant barrier to higher education is cost. Pam Jacobsen stated that several weeks ago, seniors were given help to register on the U.S. Department of Education's website where they were given a pin number to apply for federal financial aid (FAFSA). This gave students an important head start in the financial aid process, allowing them to apply for grants and student loans after the first of the year once funds become available for the coming academic year. Several local universities also waived their application fees for this week only in an effort to spur participation in College Application Week.
Ultimately, 280 out of 465 seniors applied to one or more schools. That is roughly 60% of the senior class. Mrs. Jacobsen reports that they are very pleased with the results and hopes that these numbers will increase in years to come.
Today, (12/1) a student came to the office and reported to Fremont administration that she had seen another student with a gun. Together, administration and our school resource officer detained the student and confiscated the gun. In cooperation with local law enforcement and the significant threat it posed, a decision was made with law enforcement and administration to lock down and evacuate the building. At that time, all students were evacuated and student backpacks were searched to ensure that all threats to students safety were neutralized.
We appreciate our student and staff response as well as your cooperation, understanding and assistance as parents. This was a team effort to ensure that students and staff are safe. As per our standard response protocol, our district communication system was used instantaneously and was extremely helpful. For those who were not notified, we encourage each of you to update your information on the portal or to contact the office as they are happy to help you with this valuable and timely resource.
For your information, the student who was in possession of the gun has been charged accordingly. We are confident that any threat to student safety has been addressed, however, if you or your student have any information that you feel might be helpful to this case, you are encouraged to contact the school.
We want you to know that the safety and welfare of our students and staff are our highest priority here at Fremont. Please assure your student(s) that any homework that may have been affected by this series of events will be allowed to be completed with additional time needed. Finally, if your student(s) left their backpack in a classroom or hallway, he/she can return to the classroom or to the main office to get it first thing in the morning. Thank you again for your patience and understanding as we work through this sensitive situation.
“…But what happens after graduation…?” What happens after graduation is a question posed by students and parents with more intensity the closer it gets. For students with disabilities, the question is even more critical. To help parents and students know what continuing support might be available, Weber State University’s Special Education Department held two Parent Transition Nights in an open house format featuring speakers from a variety of agencies to share information and answer questions. Speakers from Weber State University, Workforce Services, the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation and the Division of Services for People with Disabilities spoke about their agencies and the ways in which students may be supported in a post-secondary education or employment environment as well as while completing their high school graduation requirements.
Angie McLean, from Weber State University’s Services for Students with Disabilities, presented information about how students can apply for accommodations and support at the post-secondary level. Assistance is available for registration, interpreting, tutoring, and adaptive technology in addition to classroom accommodations. Angie emphasized the importance of teachers and parents encouraging students to aim high and to recognize their abilities, not just focus on their disabilities. Many students with disabilities successfully complete college degrees- students will never know if they might have succeeded, unless they try.
Lindsey Johnson, from Workforce Services (WIA Youth), spoke about their focus of helping students obtain marketable skills, which lead to gainful employment. Since the first step in obtaining employment is graduation, WIA provides a variety of incentives to help a student reach this goal. Through their individualized plan, students may earn incentives for improving grades and attendance, volunteering, or enrolling in training opportunities. For example, students may participate in a course through WIA on resume writing and interviewing strategies. Students will gain valuable skills, while earning a cash stipend for participating.
Rich Mackay, from the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation (Vocational Rehabilitation), explained the opportunity for individualized restoration services through their agency. The goal of Vocational Rehabilitation is to assist eligible individuals with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and maintain employment in order to increase their independence. Services can potentially include counseling, education, job placement, job coaching, and/or career evaluations.
Tammy Davis, from the Division of Services for People with Disabilities (DSPD), emphasized the critical need for parents to complete the application process while their student is still young and possibly not yet in need of support. Examples of support provided by DSPD are respite care, day programs after post high, job training and coaching. Services for persons who qualify are available for the entire life span of the individual.
Many of these agencies, including our public schools, collaborate to assist people with disabilities and achieve great things. With approximately 80 students and their parents attending, the evenings were a great success! Participants received valuable information about continuing services and many questions were answered.
The Special Education Department looks forward to continuing to offer Parent Transition Nights each year and to expand the presentations.
Contact information for the agencies listed above may be found on this website through the following links: departments>special education>transition or you may input the agency name into the search engine on your computer.
Weber School District is honored to announce the recipients of the Extra Mile Award for the month of October 2014. The Extra Mile Award is designated to recognize classified employees of the district who have demonstrated exceptional commitment and dedication to both their profession and to those they serve.
Shari Erisoty of Fremont High School was nominated by Principal Rod Belnap. Shari has worked at Fremont in the Writing Lab, overseeing testing of all students. As her responsibilities have evolved and grown, Shari has proven herself to be an invaluable asset to both students and faculty alike. Shari gladly carries out her job responsibilities in a passionate and dedicated manner, always making sure that she stays until the job is done. This past year, 97% of Fremont’s juniors took the ACT test; a direct result of Shari’s efforts to ensure that every student had been taken care of. Many times due to absences and schedule changes, help is needed in the main office or in attendance. Without fail, Shari is the first to step up to the plate to lend a hand. She exemplifies what it means to be a team player.
What truly sets Shari apart is her dedication to the students at Fremont High. Her emotional connection to students and staff is evident in her kind demeanor and “open door” policy. Recently, Shari spearheaded a project to provide data on failing and struggling students after Dr. Belnap expressed concerns regarding these particular students. Shari provided data that helped shed light onto the problem, but more importantly, broke down failing students into classes, departments, and individuals – her primary objective was to put a face to the names of these struggling students. As a result of her work, Fs in the school were reduced by an impressive 30% last term. Shari’s tireless efforts have directly contributed to the success of countless students at Fremont High. Dr. Belnap states that Shari is a “tireless, determined employee… and a delightful person.” He also says that “She truly represents all that is great about Fremont and the Weber School District by always putting the student first.”
Vickie Grant of the District’s Transportation Department was nominated by her supervisor, Sue Morgan. Vickie has been a dedicated bus driver for our district since 1998. Not only is Vickie a role model for drivers in the district, she also shows genuine care and concern for all her students who she takes to and from school every day. When Ms. Morgan asked Vickie’s fellow employees about examples of Vickie’s unselfish acts in behalf of the children, she received many touching stories of Vickie’s dedication. One year, a little girl who told Vickie that her family would not be having Christmas that year. Vickie found out what the little girl wanted for Christmas as well as the size of clothes the parents wore. She bought the family presents and a Christmas tree, and left the items on the family’s front porch. After Christmas break, wearing the Air Jordans that she had received for Christmas from their anonymous Santa, this little girl excitedly boarded Vickie’s bus exclaiming that, “There is a Santa Clause and he is real!”
Her generosity has extended to many families on her route. She has donated money to families enduring hardship, replaced a stolen bike, and even paid a boy to take the gauges out of his ears – much to the delight of the boy’s grandfather, who flagged her down to thank her for being a positive example to his grandson. Vickie once had a child on her bus who was born with a disability. After observing the treatment this boy received from the other students, Vickie got to school one morning, and after the disabled child got off the bus, she kept the other children on the bus so that she could explain to them how she expected them to treat him, that he was no different than anyone else. These are only a few of the memorable things Vickie has done through the years. She genuinely cares about each of her students. She is a true professional and also a role model for others to follow.
Congratulations to our two award recipients! We thank you for your dedication and exemplary service, and are honored to recognize your efforts.
Weber School District is pleased to announce the 1st Annual Northern Utah STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) College and Career Exposition to be held on Monday, November 3, 2014 at the Davis Conference Center. From 8:30 AM – 2:30 PM, nominated students will have the opportunity to experience hands-on demonstrations, will gain insight into future career paths and will be able to seek guidance from local higher-education institutions.
Parents and students from all grades are invited to attend a free Family STEM Evening that night which will provide an opportunity for participants to visit with over 50 businesses and educational institutions. Hands-on activities, opportunities to investigate possible career paths and the ability to become more aware of the ever-changing world will be central to the evening’s offerings.
This event has been sponsored by Tesoro in collaboration with the Davis, Weber, Ogden and Morgan School Districts as well as the Weber State University College of Science. Please join us in this great opportunity to learn more about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics pursuits and to network with leading industry experts.
For more information, please contact Sheri Heiter (email@example.com) or Matt Patterson (firstname.lastname@example.org). Details are available at: https://webertube.com/download.php?key=139a252aa37a456ff366. We look forward to a great night of exploration, learning and networking centered on the exciting and crucial area of STEM education!
Green Acres Elementary is becoming a Weber School District STEM Emphasis School to help students become better problem solvers and more engaged learners.
The Grizzlies are choosing to emphasize STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)in order to help prepare students for their life after graduation. According to the National Academy of Sciences, an ever-increasing number of employers and public officials have said that young people need to, “…have some degree of scientific and technological literacy in order to lead productive lives as citizens, whether or not they ever work in a STEM-related field… such literacy is important to being a smart consumer and thoughtful participant in democratic decision making and to making sense of the world more generally.”
Green Acres is one of two schools in the state using Launch, the elementary version of Project Lead the Way (PLTW); with Municipal Elementary following about a month behind them as a third school. Launch/PLTW is the curriculum that is used for the engineering component of STEM. There is one teacher in each grade level who is a PLTW teacher and they make sure every student in that grade level gets through at least one of the engineering modules. This year, the school is starting with the engineering design process.
“Part of what we want kids to know is that you learn a lot from mistakes and that if you get it wrong the first time that’s great because you learn a lot more that way than if you already knew it,” Principal Lisa Gilstrap said. “We emphasize a growth mindset so people don’t think ‘I’m not a math person,’ or, ‘I’m not a science person.’ Instead, they think, ‘I can do math. I can do science. I just have to figure out how to figure it out.”
The school will be integrating STEM ideas throughout the curriculum. For example, Gilstrap explained students may have to engineer a beanstalk when reading and learning the story of “Jack and the Beanstalk,” or come up with a design for a paintbrush in art. “Really, it’s about becoming problem solvers.” The problem solving instructional approach emphasizes students taking more responsibility for their learning in all subjects.
The program is in its early stages at the school with pre-surveys and students just starting to work into it now, and it will continue to grow. “I think it’s really good for students,” Gilstrap said. “I think it will engage the students that are more hands-on. It challenges our students that have things come easy to them- they’re going to have to learn to work through stuff. It’s going to be good for both my faculty and for my students. Plus, I love that all of my students get to participate in this as well. That’s a beautiful thing.”