STEMteachersNYC's Elementary STEM Initiative
Earlier in my elementary science teaching career, I would become frustrated when searching for professional development opportunities, finding that most workshops in science or STEM education were geared towards middle school and high school educators. Then, in the summer of 2017, I attended a two-week professional development opportunity called “KT3: Kid Talk, Teacher Talk” for elementary science educators. This workshop was run by STEMteachersNYC, a non-profit organization that provides high-quality and unique professional development courses in STEM teaching to educators in New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area. I was so impressed with this P.D. experience that I immediately decided to become more involved with STEMteachersNYC, approaching the organization and offering to form a committee specifically for elementary STEM educators. Several months later, we successfully launched STEMteachersNYC’s “Elementary STEM Initiative” and committee.
Teachers play an essential role in cultivating students’ understanding of and affinity for STEM subjects. Professional development in STEM subjects is particularly beneficial for elementary school teachers, who are uniquely well-positioned to provide a strong STEM foundation for their students. As a leader of the Elementary STEM Initiative, I am proud of the work that we have done to support elementary educators in the classroom. STEMteachersNYC’s distinctive approach allows all elementary educators to view themselves as effective teachers of STEM, regardless of their background knowledge. Some of the workshops for K-5 teachers that I have led or co-led include, “Push and Pull: Modeling STEM Strategies for the Early Elementary Classroom,” “Seeing Science Everywhere: Best Practices in Elementary STEM,” “STEM for Non-STEM Teachers: How to Fit the NGSS 3Ds Into Your Curriculum,” and “Computational Thinking in Elementary Classrooms.” These workshops have empowered elementary teachers to become STEM leaders in their schools and districts, with many of the participants becoming workshop leaders themselves.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we shifted from holding in-person workshops to offering virtual workshops via Zoom. This allowed us to begin providing professional development to educators far beyond New York City, hosting teachers from across the country and even internationally. In addition to leading workshops, I co-moderated a biweekly working group for K-12 educators teaching in remote or hybrid settings. Members of the group discussed their experiences teaching during a pandemic and shared best practices for teaching STEM during this challenging time. I also served on the Planning Committee for our first ever virtual national conference, “STEMteachersEXPO 2020,” which included several offerings for elementary educators.
By creating and nurturing STEMteachersNYC’s Elementary STEM Initiative, I have allowed elementary educators to find valuable, high-quality, and relevant virtual and in-person workshops that advance their knowledge and pedagogy. I am proud of having fostered a dynamic community of STEM teachers who actively support one another on a regular basis. I am thrilled to continue doing this important work, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.
I'm so glad that you're here to learn more about STEMteachersNYC's Elementary STEM Initiative!
Special thanks to Phil Jackman for his amazing work helping to put this video together!
To learn more about our organization, visit: https://stemteachersnyc.org/
To learn more about our upcoming workshops, visit: https://stemteachersnyc.org/upcoming-programs/
Where have you experienced engaging, effective, hands-on professional development for elementary STEM educators?
I love seeing how Juliettte is both an elementary teacher and a teacher leader of other elementary teachers. She’s a practitioners dream and can take those PD’s and implement them in her classroom. I think they versatility is inspiring and I love that she helps to recruit more elementary teachers to also do STEM in their classrooms. Amazing
Focusing on PD for…
Focusing on PD for Elementary STEM is key. Elementary teachers don't get the opportunity to really sink into the content areas too often. It is great that you have developed this so teachers can work together to decide how to teach a complex science topic to younger students, to make it wild and wonderful for them so they are curious enough about it. It s a tricky business! EMPOWER each other so they can become STEM leaders. How often do you meet?
Teachers need to learn in community, too!
What a wonderful role you've played in supporting teachers in learning in community -- that's such an important part of why we've felt so isolated in these years of post-quarantine teaching, so I'm particularly grateful that you've supported folks through virtual and hybrid STEM learning!
I'm wondering what differences you've seen/created in a program that's specifically for ELEMENTARY teachers vs. middle school. What needs are the same? What needs are different?
Thanks for sharing your work.
:) Kirstin, who also has a video in this showcase
Love the idea of STEM Learning in PD. We definitely need more sharing and training to increase our knowledge of teaching. I think it should be all grades, K - 12th. :) Diana
I am impressed
I loved your webpage and I think I love to integrate some of the ideas in our district. Nice.
Juliette, I recognize your…
Juliette, I recognize your initial frustration with not having enough PD for the younger students. I had to really seek that out, and then, like you, run my own. Finding those other teachers to work with has been critical. I wish you continued success and feel inspired to keep going!
STEM TEACHERSNYC and Juliette specifically is AMAZING!
I want to say how lucky i am to have stumbled upon STEM TEACHERS NYC and Juliette. I love having another network of educators who are thinking like I am thinking . I joined the organization and have been a participant in many of Juliette facilitated workshops and I cannot recommend them highly enough . Providing just right PD for elementary teachers is one of the solutions to the problem of K-5 students not accessing quality science instruction.