STEAM Initiative

Posted on Categories Curriculum Planning, Misc. Lesson Plans & Ideas, Professional Development, Student Engagement, Technology Integration

At a Glance

At the A.W. Beattie Career Center, the STEAM Coordinator implements activities at the school, the sending schools, and the community to promote the acquisition of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math, and Medicine) skills.

Overview

During the 2015-2016 school year, A.W. Beattie administrators decided to create a combined Assessment Coordinator and STEAM Coordinator role. The responsibilities of the STEAM Coordinator include:

  • Arranging STEAM and career exploration day events for local school districts;
  • Attending local STEAM events, such as Sci Tech Days;
  • Implementing use of STEAM into the career classroom and shops; and
  • Presenting at conferences about using STEAM in the career and technical education area.

Throughout the school year, the STEAM Coordinator develops opportunities for A.W. Beattie students and instructors to participate in various STEAM-related events. These events include a STEM Night at the local high school, career days at various elementary schools, a science day held at an elementary school, presentations at conferences both local and in Hershey, and an Hour of Code at the public library.

Of particular note, in September 2015 A.W. Beattie applied for and received approval for a partnership with the Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathway. A.W. Beattie Career Center is the only career and technology center to receive approval for this partnership. The Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathway includes:

  • Tools for assessing current STEM programming,
  • A process to create a practical improvement plan,
  • Professional development and mentoring opportunities,
  • A guide for schools or districts to use to improve STEM education, and
  • Recognition for schools that are improving STEM education opportunities.

A committee headed by the STEAM Coordinator and including three administrators and five instructors was created to develop and implement three specific STEAM action plans. As a Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathway Partner, A.W. Beattie Career Center received a mini grant to support these action plans.

Origin / Implementation

A.W. Beattie administrators decided to create a STEAM Coordinator position in order to focus efforts on the development of students’ STEAM skills and the preparation of students for STEAM careers. With a schoolwide emphasis on STEAM, administrators also aim to address an ongoing challenge to improve the image of A.W. Beattie’s programs and the career center itself. They want the career center to stand at the cutting edge of educational initiatives.

Instructors are expected to align program activities and projects with STEAM topics. They receive monthly updates on STEAM events in which instructors and students are participating. The faculty participated in a survey to determine a common set of STEAM-related terms to be used in classrooms. These four terms that were selected –  Analyze, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Apply – are on posters in every classroom.  Instructors are encouraged to use the STEAM terms in their classrooms as much as possible during instruction, open houses, and advisory meetings.   

Results / Impact

The January 2016 issue of the Northern Connections Magazine recognized A.W. Beattie Career Center for its STEAM-focused efforts, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education recognized the efforts as a Promising Practice for CTE Resources.

A.W. Beattie administrators report that the business community, Joint Operating Committee (JOC) members and the sending school districts perceive that the career center is preparing students for successful transitions to postsecondary education and career opportunities. The various STEAM events have garnered much excitement.

As A.W. Beattie administrators plan for the future, they want to continue to focus on the use of STEAM in career education fields.  Currently, the greatest challenge A.W. Beattie faces is accommodating the requests of the nine sending school districts. One possible solution is to split the school requests into a two-year rotation schedule so A.W. Beattie can accommodate all the requests that are received.

Contact

A.W. Beattie Career Center
Clifton Bossong, Assessment/STEAM Coordinator
Email: Clifton.bossong@beattietech.com