Northeast Metro 916 is playing a role in facilitating innovations and developments in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) curriculum thanks to a partnership with the Grants and Research Office, University of Minnesota, Intermediate District 287 and Metro ECSU.
Through an $8 million five-year grant from the National Science Foundation, the goal of the EngrTEAMS project (Engineering to Transform the Education of Analysis, Measurement, and Science) is to develop STEM curriculum that increases the learning of science and math concepts for students in grades 3-8. Through the STEM office at the University of Minnesota, professional development is provided for teachers to design engineering-based curricular approaches for the major science areas.
Originating in the 2013-14 school year, the program began with 48 teacher fellows from member districts South Washington County Schools and North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale, as well as St. Paul Public Schools. Northeast Metro 916 and Minneapolis Public Schools have also since joined, bringing the total to 200 teacher fellows.
Northeast Metro 916 teacher fellows Lynn Grundtner, Matt Nupen, Kathy Koonce, Anne Wegscheider, Lauren Hoyt, and Amy VanAkkeren recently completed the full cycle of the project. During the summer, they attended a summer institute at the University of Minnesota where the teachers developed curricular units for science concepts, data analysis, and measurement. These new curriculums were tested during STEM summer camps for students which allowed the teachers to receive feedback so they can refine and continue to develop their methods to implement into the school year.
The final products are to be submitted to TeachEngineering, in hopes of future use on a national level. Many of the project outcomes have the potential to transform teaching across the country, such as by increasing the overall understanding of STEM concepts, bridging the learning between elementary and middle school, and documenting the learning outcomes of underrepresented populations. The coaching models are also designed to be more effective and sustainable, while being more meaningful than the standard approach of teaching the sciences.
Northeast Metro 916 is one of three intermediate school districts in Minnesota, serving approximately 4,000 students through shared programming that includes career and technical education, special education services, area learning centers and elementary education.