The science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) initiative started 4 years ago with 16 schools. Currently it involves 94 schools and 68,000 students in the DeKalb County School District (DCSD).
Last week over 2400 students from schools across DeKalb participated in over 20 hands-on STEM activities. Students were also able to hear Captain Irving’s Inspirational story of how he became the youngest person to fly around the world and share with them about his current career doing STEM explorations around the world. Captain Irving and The Ford Motor Foundation donated the funds for Dr. Green to Fly-in to each high school to greet the students and kick off the STEM Expo.
The DeKalb County High School VEX Robotics League starts Thursday, November 15th at Dunwoody High School at 6pm. Forty Five (45) robotics teams from high schools around DeKalb will be facing off to determine who will be the 2016 DeKalb Robotics Champion. The league will hold several league nights over the next several months culminating with a league championship event held in January. The top 8 teams from the league will qualify for the state VEX Robotics Tournament held in February.
Yes, STEM is great. It should be pointed out, however, that there is almost NO help available from county to breathe life into STEM at schools. Larger schools with more HR teachers (so, the workload of lesson plan development, implementation, etc. is spread over more people), schools that get Title 1 funds, or schools that have been successful at partnerships can make a serious go of it. To everyone else, you have to struggle along with the same resources, same teachers, and same money and be expected to add in a whole new level of complexity. This is another unfunded, unsupported mandate from DCSD that will make a real difference only to the schools that were already humming along (or to those with some external help besides the county). Everyone else will be haphazardly implementing whatever can be done, but not truly achieving any overall STEM-driven change.
Melmarionl , Thank you for your comments. As you know, funds are finite, so we are all doing what we can with what we have. It is no doubt a challenge. As you probably know to earn STEM certification, schools must submit an application showing that they meet rigorous criteria, such as evidence of teacher collaboration, business and industry partnerships, high levels of math and science instruction and an integrated, project-based STEM curriculum.
I challenge the school PTAs and School Councils to reach out to the various local organizations to build partnerships. Contact the city or county Development Authority, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, or any number of organizations.