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At Provo City School District, we want to give every student tools to work toward their chosen future, regardless of their situation. We want our students to dream big and feel confident in their abilities and background knowledge to take on any task.
We’re excited to introduce the STEM Inclusion Initiative.
We aim to arm our youth with engagement opportunities and hard STEM skills to teach all children the building blocks of STEM jobs and higher learning. Through the STEM Inclusion Initiative, participating schools dedicate time for students to participate in coding, robotics, and engineering regardless of academic standing or other factors that sometimes limit student access.
The initiative gradually moves participating schools towards a stronger focus on STEM through a one-hour-per-week rotation model. Each STEM Friday focuses on a different skill set, with all schools engaging students in coding, robotics, and engineering design. Each school chooses additional skill sets, including deep science dives, educational technology projects, and arts integration.
Each participating school received a class set of five different robotics platforms. Teachers participated in professional development before the beginning of the school year. Staff will continue engaging in professional learning throughout the year and can join in model teaching and class visits (or learning walks) to teachers already implementing STEM programming.
The Innovative Learning division is providing lesson plans and professional learning for engineering design and robotics. We have partnered with BootupPD, a non-profit organization dedicated to inclusive computing in elementary schools, and the Amazon Future Engineer elementary computer science partner, to provide professional development for coding in Scratch, a coding platform built for elementary students to develop computational thinking and coding skills.
We currently have four schools participating in the initiative: Franklin Elementary, Provost Elementary, and Westridge Elementary are following the rotation model, and Wasatch Elementary is implementing the initiative as a STEM track while keeping inclusion as a primary goal.
The initiative seeks to increase district-wide computer science and engineering participation, particularly among our typically underrepresented populations. The goal is to let our students dream big and gain the experience and skills to chase their dreams.
Keep an eye out for more articles on STEM Fridays, on standout STEM teachers and students, and how the Innovative Learning division seeks to build up a program that makes teaching STEM easy and learning STEM easier.