The GSV board and spouses had the honor to attend the St. Vrain Valley School District STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) COMM 2013 Conference. Attendees included SVVSD teachers, staff, & administrators, sponsors and representatives from partners including; AT&T, City of Longmont, Encana, ESRI, IBM, Longmont United Hospital, NREL, Orbotix, Rocky Mountain National Park, University of Colorado, Boulder Engineering & Computer Science Programs.
Exhibitors from STEM schools, students, participants, and volunteers demonstrated impressive projects and applications, STEM curricula details, and extracurricular clubs and activities.
Speakers addressed topics concerning STEM education, future careers in STEM fields and real-world application of STEM knowledge:
Dr. Don Haddad
SVVSD Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Haddad discussed how most current curriculums are suited for a future that will not exist. Programs need to address our changing world and the careers that will be available. STEM is part of a re-tooling process of our overall education system to address skill sets for careers in the future. Giving our kids a specialization in Science, Math, Technology and Engineering will enable them to compete for careers in a global economy.
Jacquelyn F. Sullivan, PhD
Associate Dean of Engineering
University of Colorado
Dr. Sullivan talked about the uniqueness of women in engineering. Often times, kids are channeled in a particular direction that does not necessarily suit their talents and interests. She discussed the importance of allowing opportunities for all students to engage in STEM focused education so the path to a career is matched with interest and ability.
Bradford O. Brooks, PhD
Dr. Brooks discussed the pace of computational ability and addressed the issue of education relationship to business application. He is a major proponent of early childhood education and exposure to educational concepts that are reflective of current methodology in STEM.
The energy and engagement from the exhibitors and speakers was overwhelming and contagious! We found ourselves once again impressed with our district’s ongoing drive to empower our children to succeed in K-12 by educating them in the areas of knowledge that will be applicable in the future.
More information can be found about the conference at: www.svvsd.org/stemcomm
- Invest in Innovation (i3) Grant: In 2010, SVVSD won a $3.6 million Invest in Innovation development grant. The grant focuses on expanding programs for at-risk students in seven schools. This includes augmenting the school year at four elementary schools, targeting math students in selected middle schools and fully implementing the STEM Academy at Skyline High.
- Race to the Top Grant: In December 2012, St. Vrain won $16.6 million in Race to the Top funds. The U.S. Department of Education chose 16 districts nationwide; St. Vrain was the only district in Colorado honored. The funds will support programs in 11 schools in the Skyline High School feeder system by developing STEM programs in all grade levels.
About MBSA, STEM & SPARK!
The Medical & Bioscience Academy (MBSA) at Longmont High School offers rigorous college-preparatory curricula that prepares students for admission to post-secondary programs in medicine, research and allied health sciences.
STEM Schools in St. Vrain Valley transform teaching and learning by providing students with engaging, real world learning experiences to emphasize connections between school, community and our global society. Students apply science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts using 21st century skills and inquiry-based design thinking models to create innovative solutions to authentic problems enhancing post- secondary and career readiness.
Spark! Discovery Preschool is the first-of-its-kind early childhood school in St. Vrain Valley Schools. Opening in the former Frederick Elementary, in August of 2013, Spark! uses comprehensive preschool programming, with a focus on STEM.