Strike Middle School located in The Tribute, along with three other campuses in Little Elm ISD, earned its National STEM Certification. Little Elm ISD is striving to be the first district in Texas to be STEM certified and the first district to have all of its campuses certified through the National Institute for STEM Education, or NISE.
Four campuses at Little Elm ISD have recently earned its National Certificate for STEM Education (NCSE): Brent Elementary, Chavez Elementary, and Strike and Walker Middle Schools. This makes a total of six out of nine campuses with three more coming the next school year. Lakeview, Oak Point, and Little Elm High School are working toward its certification and Hackberry and Prestwick became certified last school year.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and it offers hands-on and relevant learning experiences for students.
Each campus had to form a STEM team to work through 27 indicators with the focus on creating an environment for learning, building scientific learning, and engaging students in scientific and engineering practices. Jennifer Bernabo, District science coordinator, said for a campus to be certified, at least five teachers on that campus had to earn their national STEM certification. It takes about 60 hours of work for a teacher to complete the necessary requirements. “This was on top of their regular job duties and some completed the work in addition to their required reading academy certification they had to receive,” said Bernabo. Between the four newly certified campuses, 45 teachers earned their certification, making the total of 63 teachers STEM certified across the District.
Daniel Gallagher, superintendent, said he is proud of the work teachers have committed to doing in order to help the District reach its vision of becoming the Destination District. “We began this journey of STEM certification three years ago. Our goal back then was to ensure that no matter what zip code you lived, every child will have the opportunity to have STEM as part of their curriculum,” said Gallagher. “We are proud to say we have nearly every campus certified and by this time next year, we will be STEM certified across the District.”
The NCSE recognizes individual school campuses for their commitment to, and growth in, teachers’ implementation of 21st Century and STEM strategies. Evolving from STEM professional development and curriculum created at Rice University, NISE STEM certificates integrate the most recent research and best practices in STEM, 21st Century Learning, and professional development.
The following educators earned NCSE: