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STEM Academy

Terry Graham,

institute participant and lead STEM Academy facilitator helps Joan Roehre of Racine verify the flow rate of a point-of-use water filter.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Center for Developing Excellence’s STEM Academy hosted its first Professional Development Institute Sept. 25-26. The Institute was entitled “STEM-ming the Global Water Crisis” and was held in conjunction with the Rotary Districts 6360, 6380 and 6310’s Thirsting-to-Serve Water Conference in Grand Rapids, Mich. The event was hosted at Amway’s World Headquarters in Ada, Mich., and at Calvin College’s Prince Conference Center in Grand Rapids.

STEM-ming the Global Water Crisis is an interdisciplinary curriculum module that was designed by Larry Jozwik, executive director of The Center For Developing Excellence and focuses on how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields can help address the lack of potable water throughout the world.

The STEM Academy is an annual summer program offered by The Prairie School for southeastern Wisconsin’s middle school students (private, public, parochial, charter and home-schooled) aimed at getting them excited about the potential of STEM careers. The Professional Development Institute was designed to help teachers address the need for quality hands-on learning activities relating to STEM fields. Teachers from Racine area schools, STEM Academy lead facilitators Ed McCarthy, Anisa Diaz, Pat Jozwik and Terry Graham, as well as teachers from Michigan, attended the institute.

Anisa Diaz, STEM coordinator and educator effectiveness coach at Starbuck Middle School said, “The STEM-ming the Global Water Drinking Institute was extremely beneficial because it was not a theory workshop, but a project-based learning environment that simulated what students would actually be doing in class. Actual point-of-use water filtration systems, and problem-based activities in multiple disciplines, were the focus. This type of training builds confidence in novice teachers and gives more creative juices to seasoned STEM teachers.”

Joan Roehre of Racine, co-founder and board director of Adventure Kids Learning said, “I’ve never been to a conference that has filled my head and my heart so much.”

The STEM Academy is planning on hosting a second Institute in April through the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. For more information contact ljozwik@wi.rr.com.

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