ESD 112’s nPower Girls is beginning the 2018-19 school year with an expanded focus and a new name to match. nPower Teachers in STEM will partner local business and industry directly with classroom teachers, and then support those teachers by helping them embed science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) career awareness directly into their curriculum.
Whereas nPower Girls aimed to support STEM learning for girls, nPower Teachers in STEM will help teachers fully engage all students in STEM subjects, especially those who are members of non-dominant populations, such as: Girls, English language learners (ELLs), ethnic minorities, gifted/highly capable students, special education students, alternative education students, and students in poverty.
ESD 112 STEM Director Vickei Hrdina explains, “After 3 years of research, the nPower Girls program learned that interventions designed to support girls in STEM also support all students across under-represented populations.”
The program will continue the most successful practices of nPower Girls, while evolving to best support its teachers with STEM industry externships. “We will continue to partner with women in STEM roles as mentors and role models, as well as embed research-based practices that support girls in STEM subjects across our program,” says Hrdina.
The expansion of the program is not just on the student side. nPower Teachers in STEM is now open to teachers in all 30 school districts within the ESD 112 region. The professional development program is completely free for all teachers of all subjects, and districts will be reimbursed for the cost of substitutes. The focus is on teachers of grades 4-8, since those are the critical years for student identification with STEM, but high school teachers will also be considered. The program expansion is supported financially by a state climate science grant, and the theme for 2018-19 will be on climate science topics.
nPower Teachers in STEM will kick off with a workshop at ESD 112 on September 21, 2018. At the kickoff, teachers and administrators will learn about the research behind the need for the program and the six professional development workshops planned for the year.
At each workshop, teachers will participate in an externship at an industry partner that focuses on climate science. Teachers will visit the business or agency for half a day and then spend the second half developing career-connected classroom tasks to engage their students in STEM and career awareness. Some of the industry partners planned include an agricultural drone tech company in Lyle, an oyster farm in Naselle, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Mount Saint Helens institute.
Teachers and administrators can register for the kickoff here.