STEM teachers and leaders participate in a continuous program of STEM-specific professional learning.
Recently, Rockhurst High School became an affiliate member of the National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools (NCSSS). For the past two years, representatives of Rockhurst High School have accompanied the STEAM Director to this conference, which features sessions for administrators as well as specific content areas. This is one of many examples of faculty attending STEM-specific professional conferences. A variety of Rockhurst teachers and administrators have made a total of nearly 80 appearances at over a twenty-five conferences during the last two years.
Some highlights of these experiences include the Exeter Mathematics Institute (attended by seven math department members), the Internet of Things workshop, the EMP Museum STEAM workshop, AP Seminars Silicon Valley, Faith and Science Astronomy Conference, STEMCon, NCSSS, and the AdvancED STEM Summit. The robotics teacher alone attended six conferences/workshops specifically geared towards the launch of the robotics program (National Science Teacher’s STEM Conference, STEMcon, Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy, Intelitek Training, National Science Teacher’s Regional Conference, and SeaPerch ROV Build).
In the spring of 2016, Rockhurst High School arranged a memorandum of understanding with Rockhurst University so that faculty members at the high school can take classes at the university for a reduced tuition. The genesis of this memorandum grew out of a desire to help support teachers take advantage of the University’s emerging data science program. A long term goal of the STEAM initiative includes infusing data science content into the existing school curriculum.
After an initial training session from a Steelcase representative, the teachers from the Active Learning classrooms met biweekly to share their best practices. For 2016-2017, the STEAM Blog created an ‘Active Learning’ portion. This will be used to help facilitate further professional development opportunities for 2017-2018 school year. In fact, about one-third of the classrooms will be outfitted as active learning classrooms next year. It was fascinating to hear the reaction from Rockhurst’s retired principal. All of these experiences are on top of the standard professional development commitments of Rockhurst staff and faculty.
Finally, during January of 2016 and January of 2017, the STEAM Director presented an update regarding all of the faculty and students involved in various STEAM-related opportunities.
In mid-January, Rockhurst High School was notified of its acceptance as an Associate Member with the National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools (NCSSS).
Neary 30 STEM-related conferences have been attended by Rockhurst faculty in the last two years.