Transformative STEM Literacy Initiative
STEM is about looking at patterns and making connections based on observations. The only way students will learn to do this is by giving them opportunities to participate and share in the discourse by making connections from their L1 language to their L2 and by supporting them in applying new patterns of language and expression. The goal of our STEM Literacy Initiative is to develop a transformational literacy plan that stretches across 9th - 12th grade which will forge the toolsets students need to understand complex academic language and build confidence in their understanding of science and engineering.
The capacity to read is a fundamental skill that is crucial for a student’s success in college and career. Students with strong reading abilities can solve problems, make decisions, have more confidence and a higher sense of accomplishment. This is especially important for EL students who face a persistent opportunity gap in STEM classes. This is compounded further, because in most STEM and trade classrooms; teachers lack the training and understanding to effectively teach reading and literacy skills to students.
To address this, myself and a group of teacher leaders at my school created a literacy framework to support a more focused approach to literacy and reading instruction using researched based strategies that are aligned with ELD standards, NGSS and the California EL Roadmap. The key is developing teacher ownership/leadership for implementing the framework and developing rich lessons that support all students to learn and love science and engineering. This is being accomplished through a reciprocal coaching model where a dyad of stem teachers collaborate in lesson design, coordinate observational rounds, and reflect on the lesson and strategies implemented. Both teachers are growing together through a process of mutual leadership.
At the core of implementing this initiative is to build teacher capacity to support their shift in instructional strategies and approaches that sustain literacy development. Not only will the initiative be transformative for the student, but also for the teacher. We began implementation of the framework this last school year with positive results. The video we will create will tell the story of our implementation plan and the impact it has made so far in our students lives and in our teachers instructional practices.