August 10, 2015
(Photos: Bria Stephens/Center for Inspired Teaching)
On August 5 and 6, school leaders from across Washington, DC joined Center for Inspired Teaching and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) for a citywide STEM Leadership Academy for Principals. Leaders from 30 schools in the District attended the Academy, connecting with their peers, community partners, and content and learning experts.
The STEM Leadership Academy equipped school leaders with the skills and information needed to support implementation of high-quality, inquiry-based, standards-aligned STEM instruction.
Principals explored the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core State Standards – Mathematics (CCSS-M), which expect that students will grasp core content while simultaneously building their skills as critical thinkers, creative problem solvers, experimenters, and explorers.
Expert in educational neuroscience Kenneth Wesson kicked off the Academy by guiding participants in examining how their own brains work when processing STEM subjects.
Principals experimented with balloons and tape to learn about electrostatic forces. They used miniature football fields to model algebraic functions. They discovered the power of teaching through questioning and allowing students to propose and test out their own hypotheses on the path to greater understanding.
Sessions at the STEM Leadership Academy were designed to reflect the realities of a changing world, one in which ease of access to factual information has increased and independent analysis, thinking, and problem-solving skills are critical to success. This flux is what makes a new approach to STEM education so critical, as educators must shift focus from rote memorization and fact transmission in the classroom to guiding young learners toward developing their natural curiosity and critical thinking skills.
If you have questions or comments regarding STEM initiatives in the District, please email Maya Garcia, OSSE’s STEM Director at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about upcoming professional learning opportunities and additional supports to assist you this year, sign up for OSSE’s LEA Look Forward.
For more information about opportunities to have Inspired Teaching provide professional development at your school, please contact Jane Ehrenfeld, Director of Teaching and Learning, at email@example.com.