Caldwell School District
“The district’s collaboration with the center has instigated (ignited) discussions about the types of experiences we provide for students across K-12 classrooms. The world has been irrevocably altered by a global expansion of access and connectivity. Furthermore, the democratization of the web invites more people to serve as producers of rich publicly viewed/discussed content. Schools cannot exist in a bubble, pretending to be immune from these larger societal shifts. Quite simply, instructional design in our schools has to change. Teachers involved in the pilot have committed to re-envisioning how their respective classrooms function. Through either isolated design challenges or larger design inspired units, classroom cultures have evolved to where students are positioned to be creators, innovators, makers, entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs.”
-Scott Klepesch, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Caldwell School District
“Infusing STEM into our elementary curriculum has been a positive learning opportunity for our students. Students are engaged in project-based learning to learn science and math objectives while utilizing 21st century computer and engineering skills. Students are participating in a cooperating learning environment which promotes teamwork and peer collaboration. STEM allows for a real hands on approach to learning content areas. Many of our students cheer when they see STEM on the schedule!”
~4th Grade Teachers CWCBOE, Wilson Elementary School
Morris School District
The success of our work has been evident in the collaborations of our teaching staff, the design based approach to learning presented to our students, and the progressive movement forward in our efforts to fully implement the Next Generation Science Standards. My personal vision is a future filled with STEM education that equally challenges and presents our students with opportunities to explore real-world applications while fostering their passion for learning and all-things STEM. “
-Brian Young, Director, Morristown High School STEM Academy; Acting Supervisor of Science, Technology, and STEM education
Winslow School District
“Chris Anderson has been an extreme asset, if not an imperative one, in developing our STEM program at Winslow Township Middle School. His tireless efforts, depth of knowledge and infectious enthusiasm for all things STEM have taken us from zero to sixty as we plunged into our new venture with six STEM course sections per day, reaching 120 students. When I first met Chris, I had a sense that utilizing him via the Center for Excellence in STEM Education at TCNJ would be more of a relationship rather than just a contractual agreement. As we delved into our contractual days of support, my inclination was confirmed. His dedication, knowledge and vast experiences are my strong recommendation to any district trying to prepare and inspire young people in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”
-John S. Innocenzo, District Supervisor of Mathematics, Winslow Township School District
Jackson School District
“Having heard about a new way of thinking when it comes to the future of education, I stumbled into the idea of STEM and its movement. Previously, I had taught in the classroom for over a decade, but soon realized that current educational practices left a lot to be desired by both students and teachers. What I quickly bought into is the idea and pedagogy behind this STEM movement, as a way of rethinking the way in which teachers teach and learners learn. I decided to embark on the journey of making this style of learning a possibility in our school.
After reaching out to Mr. Anderson and the Center for Excellence, we collaboratively developed a plan on how to bring STEM education to our students at an elementary level. It would not be as a packaged curriculum sold by some major company like Scott Foresman, but as a series of professional development trainings that would help teachers and students make the transition to what authentic learning could be.
Our school decided to pilot a unit with several 4th and 5th grade teachers as a way to grow this seed of reform. These selected teachers were given some basic training and set off to “experiment” with STEM activities. Right away, teachers and students bought into these ideas and principles, as enthusiasm soared for engineering and creativity in those classrooms. When some special education students decided to build their own design projects at home because of the enjoyment of learning they experienced in class, we knew we were on to something.
Some of my teachers have been using some basic STEM lessons and mini-units in their classrooms and the results are remarkable. Reported increases in student engagement, problem solving abilities, and collaborative brainstorming are just some on the “side” benefits they have experienced. Students seem to advocate for more of these projects and activities, and the teachers are enjoying it as well. This Spring these same teachers will be fully trained to implement a full unit within their classrooms and everyone can’t wait. Below are some of the testimonials from those piloting teachers.
-Shawn Levinson, Supervising Teacher, HC Johnson Elementary School, Jackson School District
“I appreciate the opportunity to work on the STEM program in my class this year. The students were highly motivated and excited to do these projects.
The greatest aspect I noticed in my class was the students’ ability to work together as teams. They planned well and listened to each other’s ideas in respectful ways and I never heard arguing or disrespectful comments. They were able to calmly adjust plans they had made according to the workability of their constructions and they celebrated the success of every group. They were also able to give constructive advice to groups whose projects did not achieve the best result the first time.
The students were able to use a variety of different materials that they themselves contributed, that would otherwise probably have been thrown out, so it was also a lesson in recycling and resourcefulness.
We look forward to future STEM projects.
-N. Campitelli, 4th grade teacher, Jackson School District
|Westfield School District
“The Center has provided curriculum and professional development support for Westfield Public Schools District for just under four years. Our work with the Center has included having teachers and administrators attend sessions at TCNJ to receiving primers in district for both teachers and administrators. We have also begun work on an ambitious five-district PD and Curriculum-writing collaborative to review, write and revise curriculum to include the Next Generation Science Standards and the Center is guiding this ambitious two-year undertaking. “
-Dr. Paul Peirno, Assistant Superintendent