For the 2nd year in a row, Rockhurst High School partnered with AdvancED to host a regional STEM Summit. Read about last year’s event here. During March 19th & 20th, over 100 educators from 12 states, representing over 50 schools attended to hear Rockhurst’s story of earning a STEM certification and learn how the process might work at their respective school. A data visualization of the attendees can be seen below.


Typically, events like these are held in hotels or conference centers. The fact that we hosted the event in our school added a lot of value to the event itself. Several specific things emerged from hosting the summit in a school.

Participating teachers and administrators voiced how much they realized active learning classroom spaces enhanced the type of learning demonstrated in successful STEM schools. During the before and after summit assessment, active learning was highlighted.

Hosting the summit at Rockhurst attracted many more teachers from area parochial schools. 68% of participants came from private schools. This allowed for a population of educators to think deeply about stem education that normally are not reached by other traditional stem professional development programming. It is well documented that Parochial schools struggle to stay innovative in today’s education landscape.

Type of School

Feedback from individual workshops was extremely positive because classrooms were better equipped to meet the needs of the presenting educators. Presenters & educators both shared the value of hosting these sessions in classrooms.

We were engaged in a project that had many opportunities to bring STEM to middle schoolers with lots of fun included! It is easy to bring back to our school.

In order for a school to earn a STEM certification, a school must provide evidence and artifacts of exemplar practice that supports the eleven indicators of the AdvancED STEM Standard. Each of the conference’s 33 90-minute breakout sessions (the session program can be seen here) represented practices and behaviors of these eleven indicators. Therefore, each of the sessions empowered educators with tools, contacts and steps that they can implement at their respective schools. In 2019, 30% of the sessions were administered by one of 5 local universities!

I am pleased that there is a STEM Summit. I did gain some wonderful insight from other teachers I spoke with while attending and would like to see this event grow in strength.

This is the 2nd year that Rockhurst has partnered with AdvancED to host this professional development event. Based on feedback, 92% of participants would recommend this event to a colleague and 76% would attend again. This STEM Conference is simply one indicator and artifact that Rockhurst is helping lift up education across the entire community. From both last year’s and this year’s event, numerous school tours have resulted. Area schools are becoming less and less siloed. The Summit itself support learning. Participants participate in a pre-test and post-test to determine how they define successful STEM Education. Check out the results of the 2018 and 2019 event.

Loved KC. Coming from SD, we loved your weather. Fun stuff to do. Loved the school that it was held in.
Grade Level of School

In fact, the KC STEM Alliance even put together a Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathway professional development event specifically for local parochial schools and 90+ people attended the event in the fall of 2018; Rockhurst’s STEAM Director presented on their panel.

Interdisciplinary was the most important thing I got from this
Position at School

The partnership between Rockhurst and AdvancED helped provide evidence to the KC STEM Alliance the market need and desire of Parochial schools to engage in the STEM Education conversation. Finally, it was recently announced by Rockhurst University that they will now offer a master’s degree in K-8 STEM Education due to the high numbers of requests from educators to be more qualified.

How likely would you attend this summit again?
I felt welcomed into your school. The environment was fueled with learning. Thank you! I would like to be in contact in the future, as our school will be seeking the Advanced Ed STEM Certification. You made me feel invited to do so. Again, I appreciate it.

Rockhurst High School’s mission is to form “Men with and for Others”; this summit is an example of how the school models for its students by being a “School with and for Others.” Through the partnership with AdvancED, over 50 schools learn about the AdvancED STEM Certification and the 11 indicators that define successful STEM Education based on AdvancED.

How likely would you recommend this summit to a colleage?
There was so much more I wanted to experience and learn. Perhaps 2 full days?

The event has helped de-silo Rockhurst High School and collaborate and learn from many other area schools. The summit creates a platform to help other area schools after becoming nationally renowned through its STEM Certification. Becoming STEM Certified is a great testament to the work of a school, but it doesn’t have a greater education impact unless those learnings are shared - namely through this summit and the school’s STEAM blog.

Keep up the excellent work at Rockhurst!