ST1.9: STEM teachers and leaders participate in a continuous program of STEM-specific professional learning.
All Bates Middle School teachers and leaders have ongoing opportunities to stay current in STEM instructional practices and curriculum design. School and district administration provide regularly scheduled professional learning opportunities, and faculty and staff are encouraged and helped to find outside professional learning in areas of interest. The Leadership team collaborates to develop a professional development plan based on our district and school goals in advance of each school year.
All Bates Middle School teachers participate in a Professional Learning Community that meets each Tuesday and Friday during their planning period. Tuesdays are utilized for professional development from both internal and external experts. Our district Instructional Technology Specialist conducts professional development on topics such as the G-Suite, QR codes, and technology integration. Our district Kagan Certified Trainer presents Kagan engagement and instructional strategies on a regular schedule. Outside consultants are utilized to help increase staff knowledge of STEM, STEM Mindedness, and Project Based Learning. During the 2016-2017 school year, consultants Educators Today provided a year long study on Project Based Learning. Since that time, we have had consultants address topics such as Disciplinary Literacy, STEM Mindedness, Blended Learning, and Rigor.
Our staff is self-motivated to expand their STEM-specific professional learning and engage in conferences and workshops both during the school year and the summer. Each June, beginning in 2018, our district hosts the E3 Professional Development Conference which encompasses a wide range of topics including STEM related ( 2018, 2019). Also, beginning in 2018, Bates holds a Bantam Booster Summer Professional Development at our school. Topics include lesson plans, AVID, Flipped Classroom, STEM, Cornell Notes, and MasteryConnect. We have five Google Certified Educators at our school with the goal of obtaining at least two more during the 2019-2020 school year. Several of our teachers also hold certifications on sites such as Duolingo, NewsELA, EdPuzzle, and Screencastify. We have three teachers that have completed Project Lead the Way programs of study.
Our staff goes beyond attending STEM-specific professional development to presenting it themselves. At the Sumter E3 Conference in 2018, staff members presented “ Motivate Your Math Students with Project Based Learning”, “ Flippin’ Out with Youtube and Google Forms”, and “Word Up” (integrating Math and ELA). In 2019, staff presented “Zip into STEM with Bates”. The school has accepted invitations and presented their “Journey to STEM” at both the TransformSC annual conference and at the Francis Marion College and Career Readiness Conference. In 2019, staff members have also presented “Building Bridges: Inter-generational Program” at the South Carolina Teachers of English Conference. In 2018, “Word Up” was presented at this conference.
At Bates, we are motivated to learn from our fellow colleagues throughout the state and engage in numerous site visits to schools that are innovators in STEM, PBL, Blended Learning, and Personalized Learning to engage in collaborative professional development and best practices.
Bates will sustain our strengths in this indicator by continuing to provide meaningful opportunities for STEM professional development for our staff. We would like to further personalize professional development to ensure the needs of our staff are met. To do this, we will implement a professional development needs assessment survey.