Standard 4

STANDARD 4 LEADERSHIP: School/program has established a shared vision for STEM and has leadership structures to support effective implementation. INITIATIVES/ACTIONS: - Revising the school mission statement - Developing teachers as leaders


What Does It Look Like?

Beaufort Elementary has developed a shared vision for STEM based on a mindset that students are involved in activities that promote problem solving and critical thinking skills in multiple settings and content areas.  The twenty-first century learning practices of critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication are a crucial part of our school mission statement. At Beaufort Elementary School, our belief is that STEM is not something “you do” but is something embedded in “everything you do”, which is reflected in our shared vision and school mission statement. 

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Our school supports effective implementation of the STEM process by inviting teachers and leaders to develop specific STEM curriculum, present professional development at the school, district, and state levels, and participate in training both locally and nationally. The school leadership team plans for STEM opportunities as evidenced by the school’s master schedule and incorporates schoolwide events such as STEM Career Fair and One School, One Book initiatives.  Teachers receive training and support through the STEM Leadership Team and instructional coaches to develop and implement equitable opportunities for students to engage in high quality STEM learning. Additionally, many teachers received training in areas such as Master Naturalist, Clemson Extension, STEM Garden training, and Project Wild that enhance our STEM program.

Our teachers have a commitment to education not only in our building but across the state. Several of our teachers worked with the SC State Department of Education to develop instructional units for the 2014 science standards.  Teachers participated in the development of units for the Great American Total Eclipse of 2017.  These teachers worked on several grade levels in order to provide quality experiences for students. Included in the units were performance assessments focused on content, but also heavily infused with science and engineering practices. These practices are the cornerstone of STEM learning. More recently we have had several teachers participate on review panels and the writing committee for the South Carolina College and Career Ready Standards for Science 2021. One of our teachers served on the thirteen member team that produced the engineering design  process for the South Carolina College and Career Ready Standards for Science 2021  in  collaboration with representatives from NASA Langley Research Center, Boeing, and Intelligence for Air Force Global Strike Command among others.

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Rhoden

Our engineering teacher, Meredith Rhoden, was a state finalist for 2018 PAEMST award (Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching).  Mrs. Rhoden worked as part of the leadership team to ensure that students throughout the building experience quality STEM learning.  She has met with teachers to aid in planning STEM experiences and co-teaches lessons when requested.   Mrs. Rhoden also supports both school wide and individual teachers by organizing and gathering materials needed for various STEM activities throughout the building.  


Strengths

Our strength is that we have many teachers who have a vested interest in developing opportunities for students to participate in STEM activities that enhance their content knowledge. They seek assistance from various resources on best practices for including STEM in their classroom instruction.

Sustainability

One crucial aspect of our sustainability is that we have very knowledgeable people with various levels of experience in the STEM fields that can assist new teachers and maintain the momentum of our vision for STEM learning.  This expertise permits us to provide in house professional development and personal assistance to support effective implementation of STEM.

Challenges

Teacher turnover rate is one of our biggest challenges.  We are constantly training and modeling STEM learning in the building for our new teachers. 

Continuous Improvement

One area of improvement would be to continue to increase our knowledge of how to effectively implement STEM skills and practices across all content areas. Just like in the Engineering Design Process, there is always room for improvement.  We need to maintain our belief in the idea of collaboration among teachers as being one of the most important aspects of ensuring the consistency and growth of our STEM program in the future.