Monday, March 7, 2011

Project STEM: Improving Education

By: Devin Hayward ‘14

Nationwide, the falling standards in education in American schools has become a source of public outcry. Here, on the Eastern Shore, Washington College has partnered with Kent and Queen Anne’s County public schools to improve teaching and development in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). By applying for an Education Grant WC’s Departments of Education, Biology, Chemistry, and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Lab will be working together with the local schools to help improve these standards. The primary objectives are to “provide professional development” to raise the skill level of teachers and to “develop elementary STEM certification for the whole state,” says Michelle Johnson, a WC professor of education. To manage a STEM influenced classroom, pre-service teachers will participate in a STEM field experience. Also, to earn CEU credit, in-service teachers will complete an Intro to STEM course. Faculty from the Departments of Chemistry and Biology, along with staff from GIS, will assist with two summer professional development experiences that will last for three days. Twenty teachers will be able to participate. For the first two days they will be in training, and on the third day they will be in the classroom to implement what they have learned. Not only does this benefit teachers and students of Kent and Queen Anne’s county, but students of WC as well. Classroom teachers who participate in the summer experience will host a WC field student. The field student, who will be there to help implement the STEM classroom, will gain one credit for their participation.

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