Meet the 2018 finalists for The Succeeds Prize for Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education, sponsored by the Ball Corporation.
Littleton High School - Littleton
Littleton High School strives to make STEM education accessible, exciting, and transformative for all students. The school strives to set students up for success in STEM, whether they go to college to further learning or directly into the workforce. To ensure this, all students have access to STEM and International Baccalaureate (IB) elective programming. This makes for a more inclusive, bias-busting environment.
Littleton High School also is the only school in Littleton Public Schools to offer a STEM Certificate Program. In addition to completing minimum math and science requirements, students must also create a portfolio to showcase the skills that have obtained as part of the STEM Certificate Program. They also must complete 100 hours of STEM related activities outside of school. The STEM Certificate, in addition to intentional partnerships with higher education, demonstrate Littleton High School’s commitment to ensuring students have a deeper understanding of real-world STEM concepts and applications.
Northridge Elementary School - Longmont
Northridge Elementary in St. Vrain Valley Schools is committed to preparing students for careers that do not exist yet through authentic and equitable STEM learning opportunities aligned to students’ interests. The school’s STEM By Design model—which includes integration, 21st century skills, problem solving, personalized learning, and forming connections—is embedded into everything teachers and students do and believe. Teachers understand that education is constantly evolving and participate in frequent professional development to increase student engagement and foster a growth mindset.
Using state standards and assessments, teachers guide students through inquiry and problem-based activities to ensure student mastery of content. Their Genius House projects, Twitter interviews with industry experts, and community garden all serve to build on students’ natural curiosities by allowing them to explore, ask questions, and propose solutions. In addition to focusing on STEM, Northridge also supports students’ social and emotional well-being through a Mindefulness Room.
STEM Launch K-8 - Thornton
STEM is at the heart of everything STEM Launch K-8 does. Students across grade levels learn by studying real-world problems and developing solutions which they then present to experts for feedback. Teachers work in teams to plan rich and engaging problem-based learning (PBL) experiences rooted in Colorado’s academic standards and STEM subjects. Innovation, adaptability, risk-taking, and even failure are encouraged.
A goal of STEM Launch is exposing students to a variety of STEM careers and providing tangible pathways to reach their dreams. This is accomplished in part through partnerships with over 300 industry partners as well as the Exploring Possibilities in Careers program, which supports all eighth graders with career exposure and exploration. As a Title I School with roughly 80 percent of students qualifying for Free and Reduced Lunch, STEM Launch helps students to become change agents who can make a positive impact on their community and navigate the “codes of power” necessary for them to pursue careers of interest.