April 30, 2018

TGR EDU: Create and OSSE Announce the iSTEM Development Program

In some schools, a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) can look like buying a few 3D-printers or turning a small area into a “maker space.” For twenty-seven administrators, teacher-leaders, curriculum coaches and teachers, from five Washington, D.C. public and charter schools, their commitment goes a lot deeper.TGR Learning Lab

These educators are part of the 2018 cohort of the iSTEM Development Program, a collaborative effort between TGR EDU: Create and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). The goal of this program is to help facilitate member schools in establishing STEM leadership teams and setting goals to establish best practices in STEM curriculum, instruction, engagement and connection to other aspects of the school environment. In short, the purpose is to integrate STEM into their school practice.

These school STEM teams attend monthly professional development workshops on topics such as STEM curriculum, instruction and assessment and parent engagement, bringing real-world authenticity to STEM instruction and demonstrating how to effectively partner with community organizations, with common goals. A unique aspect of this program is teams of educators, from across each partner school, learn about STEM integration together, enabling them to bring the best practices to their larger school community.

Teachers at the Learning Lab

Only three months into this program, member schools have conducted a self-assessment on the current STEM programs in their school, established three priority areas, set goals to improve these priority areas by the start of the next school year, learned about using active strategies of instruction in STEM learning across the curriculum and developed plans around engaging school stakeholders in this work, including students, teachers, parents and community partners. The dedication of these educators is palpable as they establish a foundation at their schools that will have a positive impact for years to come.

Teachers working on activities

iSTEM educators and facilitators alike will continue to push themselves throughout the summer and into the next school year, as they work to put these STEM plans into practice. There may not be a tropical destination on the itinerary for them this summer, all because they are dedicated to creating the best learning environment possible for their school sites.


Redefining what it means to be a champion.