INDIANAPOLIS — As education evolves, educators adopt new terminology and ideas to further the individual success of students. In terms of educational buzzwords, one particular concept — STEM — dominates many conversations.
STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, focuses on the integration of these four subjects and how they can be engaged in critical thinking and real-world application. Obtaining certification for STEM has been an ongoing process for more and more schools in the United States.
As of 2022, more than 100 Indiana schools k-12 and beyond are now STEM certified, meaning their curriculums will now put a heavier emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics — something that many current industries thrive on. By emphasizing these topics and their interconnection, students will be provided with problem-solving skills through both hands-on and real-world applications of subjects.
Beginning this education earlier has its benefits, according to iD Tech, which describes early childhood STEM education as a key to better school and career preparedness.
Holly Lawson, the deputy director of communications for the Indiana Department of Education, says that the process for STEM certification is a rigorous one, but the certification is by far the most popular program within IDOE.
“Looking ahead, we are committed to continuing to improve this program and the resources and support we provide to schools to help them reach STEM certification,” Lawson said.
To ensure this, IDOE has provided a grant so that more schools have funding for this process. In March 2022, this grant provided $ 2.6 million to 48 school districts and charter schools in the state of Indiana.
Nancy Campbell, principal of Prosser Career Education Center in New Albany, has recently supervised the school’s decision to re-verify their STEM certification. Because it’s a career center and not a traditional k-12 school, Campbell believed the certification was another “gold star” to showcase the expertise and educational opportunities at Prosser.
“[The process] is quite extensive, ”Campbell said. “We had to basically create a site online that would demonstrate where we stood as far as each of the standards of STEM and the [provided] rubric. We’d have to combine artifacts that would support our rationale as to why we felt like we were efficient and all those areas. This included everything from advisory committee meetings to lesson plans to pictures of events that we would have, newsletters — anything that we could find that could support our stance as far as being a STEM school through and through at Prosser.
“… We create opportunities, which give options for our students. We are maintaining that status quo, we’re going above and beyond to give you every opportunity to create all the options possible for you and your next steps. ”
Ariana Lovitt is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.