Building Community and Relationships with Elementary STEAM
I had the opportunity to work with a team to open the first STEAM Elementary school in Missouri. Throughout this period of teaching 6th grade, we have been able to work with hundreds of students, creating critical thinkers and problem solvers, while inspiring a love of STEAM. Our school's mission is to "Prepare STEAMazing critical thinkers for life!" We tackle big things at JTSD. Our students farm with chickens and a greenhouse/garden beds to run a Farmers Market, saltwater reef tanks, freshwater tanks, engineer in our FABLAB and do other incredible things that send them off ready to take on the world.
We have had the opportunity to share our story numerous times at the local, regional, and national level through participation in local organizations and NSTA. I have presented in Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Colorado and elsewhere creating strong connections about what can be accomplished when we focus on STEAM with elementary students. I also completed my specialist degree focused on outcomes with our students demonstrated a beginning correlation between attendance at JTSD and their pursuit of STEM fields.
At JTSD, we also run a professional development firm in-house called STEAMU. In five years, we have been able to train over 1000 teachers working with different districts on how to implement STEAM in their district. Through this programming, we have closed our building twice to take our staff to national conferences. Our learning and agency sets our building apart by spreading our love for STEM with others. This has led to my promotion to district science coordinator where I work with our teachers to spread our science curriculum throughout our district.
Most recently, I have been working at the state level through various opportunities to guide our state curriculum work. I am participating in whatever is necessary to help enact change to better our outcomes for students. I also adjunct at Evangel University teaching science methods and leading the science practicum. Working to spread my love for STEAM has been fulfilling to me and is creating ripple effects that will spread throughout careers impacting an exponential number of students.
This is honestly just a surface level account of the work I have been able to do with our fantastic team. We are creating opportunity for students to truly change the world while bettering our educators and spreading the word. I would love to share our story more if given the opportunity.