Archive for December, 2015


The positive impacts of incorporating science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum and experiences for K-12 studentsSTEM teacher training philippines by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski in the U.S.  can be seen on a daily basis in “real-time” as well as in media coverage. However, as with any change in educational practices and thinking it takes funding, quality and sustainable training, and time. Not only do I provide science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teacher training in the U.S., I also travel abroad to introduce teachers of all grade levels all over the world to the foundational philosophy of STEM. About 7 months ago I was contacted by Icel Argana, CEO of Excite, Inc. (Philippines) to provide a STEM teacher training institute for the staff of Engineering for Kids (Quezon City, Philippines). Ms. Argana and partners are owners of a franchise of Engineering for Kids in Quezon City, Philippines. Ms. Argana and I exchanged numerous emails prior to the actual training in order for me to design a quality STEM training experience that would be suited to the long-term needs and goals of the corporation. I was excited when we were able to schedule a full seven days of STEM teacher training which also included two days of STEM curriculum development. Twelve teachers participated in the seven day STEM teacher training institute. My primary goal within the seven day institute was to provide the participants with an authentic picture of what STEM practices and content should look like within a classroom or informal learning environment. To achieve this goal, I modeled best practices for implementing STEM. This include: inquiry, reflective journaling, developing and implementing STEM lessons that incorporate the 4Cs: creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem-solving, communication, and collaboration. We started off the first day by getting a clear idea of what STEM is, and how it differs from “hands-on-science”. Teachers were introduced to teaching via inquiry, reflective journaling, The Engineering Design Process, and the 4Cs of STEM education. During the seven days of training teachers conducted STEM investigations that made connections to all science disciplines, and numerous engineering fields including: materials science, chemical, civil, mechanical, electrical, architectural, aviation and aeronautical. Throughout the training teachers were introduced to a wide-array of technology tools, it was stressed that the “T” in STEM is much more then the use of computers. Thus, during the training teachers used simple to complex forms of tools which represented the inclusion of technology. STEM education in the Philippines is in its early stages of infancy. Ms. Argana, and co-owners of EFK/Philippines as well of her staff are to be commended for bringing STEM education into the classrooms and afterschool programs in the Philippines. I hope to visit the Philippines again in the near future to continue delving deeper into the fascinating world of STEM education, and its positive impact it has on transforming educational systems worldwide. I have no doubt, that the dedicated staff of Engineering for Kids in Quezon City, Philippines will have a positive impact on the K-12  students and communities they reach. The following photos were taken during the seven day STEM teacher training institute. For more information about the science and STEM teacher training workshops, institutes, and interactive keynotes I conduct worldwide please contact Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski on this site via the contact page.

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Every Child Succeeds Act Passes

on December 15, 2015 in Science Education Videos, What Makes A Great Teacher? Comments Off on Every Child Succeeds Act Passes

Every Child Succeeds Act has was approved in a unanimous 22-0 vote by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee onTeacher training by Dr. Diana Wehrell Grabowski Every Child Achieves Act 2015 December 8th, 2015. The bipartisan bill is set to replace the controversial No Child Left Behind law and reduce the amount of power the federal government holds over schools. Critics of NCLB felt it offered too much power to the federal government in deciding how to improve schools deemed as failing, while also placing too much emphasis on schools based on student test scores. The Every Child Succeeds Act will still have standardized tests, which will include testing in reading and math each year for grades three-eight, and once in high school. Additionally, three science tests will be required between grades three and 12.  Under the new act the scores will no longer carry any weight for punishment of “failing” schools that receive federal funding for low-income children (Title I etc.). The new bill will allow states to create their own accountability systems and determine how much weight to place on test scores. Additionally, other measures of student and school success will be determined by individual states to offer a more accurate description of how well a school is doing. Highlighted specifics within The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 include:

Title I:

  1. Let states develop accountability systems.
  2. Maintains important information for parents, teachers, and communities.
  3. Helps states improve low-performing schools.
  4. Strengthens state and local control.
  5. Supports one percent assessment for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.
  6. Improves peer review process.
  7. Maintains reporting of disaggregated data.
  8. Affirms state control over standards.

Title II:

  1. Helps states support teachers (by providing high quality induction programs, ongoing professional development opportunities for teachers, and more).
  2. Ends federal mandates on evaluations, allows states to innovate.

Title III:

  1. Helps states support English learners.

Title IV:

  1. Requires community-based needs assessments to better target funding.
  2. Affirms state responsibility for supporting the coordination and implementation of high-quality programs and initiatives.

Title V:

  1. Updates and strengthens school programs to include:
  • High Quality Charter Schools
  • Facilities Financing Assistance
  • Replication and Expansion
  • Prioritizes grants to evidence-based magnet school programs.

Title VI:

  1. Supports rural schools.

Title VII:

  1. Supports programs for American Indiana and Alaska Native students.

Title VIII:

  1. Updates the Impact Aid formula.

Title IX:

  1. Improves Maintenance of Effort requirements.
  2. Prohibits federal government from imposing additional requirements on states seeking waivers.

Title X:

  1. Ensures homeless students have access to critical supports to improve school stability.

Early Childhood:

  1. Ensures that federal funds may be used for early education programs. To include allowing schools, and school districts to spend ESEA dollars to improve early childhood education programs, these provisions apply to various titles including Title I and Title II which provide support for teachers and school leaders, and Title III (programs for serving English learners). I’m especially excited about the realization that early childhood teachers and administrators need long-term sustainable quality professional staff development.

Being in classrooms and schools as a self-employed science education consultant/ teacher trainer I can see the positive impacts the changes that have been set forth in The Every Child Achieves Act will have on communities throughout our nation. When it comes down to it, individual states and the communities that encompass them are well-aware of the changes that need to be made in order to provide quality educational experiences for all students.

For detailed information about The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 check out the Act here.

 

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