Janesville School District Full Steam Ahead on STEM

(Janesville, WI) Excerpts Courtesy of the Gazette

One of the focuses of the Janesville School District for preparing students for their futures is through classes in STEM – project based learning that integrates knowledge and skills in science, technology, engineering and math across the curriculum. Janesville uses Project Lead the Way, the nation’s top provider of STEM curriculum, as its model.

COLLEGE AND CAREER READY

“What we’re trying to do with STEM is the four C’s; critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity,” said Kolleen Onsrud, curriculum coordinator for the district.

School district officials say a big part of workforce readiness is providing a curriculum that teaches skills to fill the demands of local businesses.

Onsrud said STEM is different than just learning science or just learning math independent of one another. STEM is more hands-on and integrated, using disciplines in tandem to do things such as computer programming, coding and robotics.It also requires students to blend subjects as they would in real-world situations, to take multiple ideas and form conclusions, use technology and understand what creates solutions.

SCHOOL BOARD SUPPORT

In February, the Janesville School Board showed its support for the district’s plan to infuse even more STEM into the curriculum through its Pathway to STEM pilot program. The school board approved spending $750,000 on implementing STEM initiatives throughout all grades.

The program is designed to ensure all students in kindergarten through 12th grade get experiences in the four STEM disciplines.

Janesville’s STEM action plan lists three goals:

— Increasing STEM achievement and expanding the number of students who pursue advanced degrees and careers in related fields.

— Boosting the graduation rate of students in STEM programs and expanding the workforce of those adept in these skills while broadening workforce participation by women and minorities.

— Increasing STEM literacy for all students and decreasing the need for postsecondary remediation, regardless of whether students study STEM further or pursue related fields.

Source: Rock County Dev Alliance