In March of 2017, Rockhurst High School earned an AdvancED STEM Certification. This achievement certainly puts Rockhurst on the national map.

So how does a traditional school that has experience a century of success accomplish such an innovative task?

When the “STEAM TEAM” was initially formed, a decision was made by Mr. Paul Winkeler, Mr. J.W. Clark, and myself. We were going to meet with every single faculty & staff member one on one.

We asked each person three questions:

  1. What is your understanding of STEAM?
  2. How do you see yourself fitting in?
  3. What are your questions and concerns?

Qualitative alysis revealed which themes were most important for faculty and staff members.

After taking notes and analyzing the results using some qualitative analysis software, we learned a lot. Our ‘way of proceeding’ became clear. Through these conversations, we knew which goals were possible, which would be long term and which objectives would most align with our school’s mission.

The interviews gave us a list of a group of ‘small wins’ that we could immediately accomplish. Spending time with each individual person and learning from their perspective was invaluable. The effort established credibility and buy-in that came to fruition with the AdvancED STEM Certification. Narratives of how we demonstrate each of the eleven indicators can be found on our STEM Certification page.

When it comes to moving forward and pursuing the magis, it is crucial to remember the power of the personal connection. It’s not enough to receive support; buy-in and a feeling of co-ownership is the key. As the STEAM initiative looks towards furthering support the mission of Rockhurst High School, including individuals in a personal way must be part of the best practice repertoire.

Rockhurst High School will be sharing its success in March of 2018 when it hosts a regional STEM Conference in partnership with AdvancED. In this way, Rockhurst hopes to model for it students by being a ‘School with and for Others’ and plays its role in helping lift up the educational ecosystem of the community.