ST1.3: Students are empowered to personalize and self-direct their STEM learning experiences supported by STEM educators who facilitate their learning. (add pictures)

Self Assessment Rating 3

Bates Middle School teachers provide students with frequent opportunities to personalize and self-direct their STEM learning experiences and learning processes. The Bantam Design Process is either introduced or reviewed with all students at the beginning of each year. This annual lesson is conducted to explore open ended problem-solving processes which can be used when approaching challenges, issues, and/or problem based scenarios presented to students or identified by students. This design process is utilized in all of our classes. Students utilize “voice and choice” through problem/project based learning and passion projects. We have school-wide common rubrics for the 4 C’s and Presentations to help students guide their proficiency.

Teachers utilize Google Classroom to provide students with organized and ongoing accessibility to course materials. Teachers also utilize sites like Screencastify and Edpuzzle to “flip” the classroom and make instructional videos that allow students to watch and take notes on instruction at their own pace. Students can re-watch the videos as they choose. In band, students utilize Screencastify to record themselves in order to reflect on and improve their performance. The teacher also views these videos to make constructive comments.

The mathematics interactive program ALEKS is utilized by all of our students. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn’t know in a course. ALEKS then instructs the student on the topics he/she is most ready to learn. All of our students also utilize Gizmos on-line simulations in their study of science concepts. Gizmos use an inquiry-based approach to learning that has been validated by extensive research as a highly effective way to build conceptual understanding. In addition, all students have access to USATestprep. USATestprep offers a variety of higher order assessments with technology-enhanced Performance Tasks. ALEKS, Gizmos, and USATestPrep can be accessed both at school and at home. All of these programs allow students to work with self-directed activities and allow data tracking by students to monitor their mastery of assignments and state standards.

Students and teachers utilize the standards based program of MasteryConnect to track student mastery of individual state standards and indicators. Students make a T-Chart of standards they need to work on based on MasteryConnect data and access USATestPrep or ALEKS to receive computer assisted instruction in those areas of need. Students can also review the assessments on MasteryConnect to analyze missed questions.

The Bantam Data Tracker is used in every core subject for students to create goals and track their progress on academics, behavior, and attendance. Students regularly direct their learning in class by self-assessing and determining their learning needs through the use of rubrics and checklists.

Bates Middle School has the student club goal of offering meaningful before and after school STEM learning experiences for our students and increasing overall student participation. We offer several before and after school clubs such as the BioBantams, Science Olympiads, Quiz Bowl, Future Business Leaders of America, Media Club, Men of Purpose, Young Women of the Future, and Junior Honor Society.

Our students plan and facilitate a Student Forum during regular school hours on topics they identify as being of importance to self-direct their learning experiences. This forum began in the Spring of 2018 in response to school shootings around the nation and was facilitated by our Principal Ayesha Hunter. It has since evolved to be completely student-centered.

To sustain our areas of strength we will continue to utilize the Bantam Data Tracker and other data tracking methods to help our students set goals for academics, behavior, and attendance. We will continue to provide professional development to sustain practices already in place. We recognize that to move forward in empowering our students to personalize and self-direct their STEM learning experiences, we need additional professional development school-wide. To address this, a group of our staff attended the TransformSC Bus Tour 2019. This tour visited schools in South Carolina identified as leaders in personalized learning to view personalized learning practices firsthand. We also applied and have been accepted to be a part of the Midlands Spring Cohort for Personalized Learning beginning in January 2020. This cohort is provided by the South Carolina Department of Education Office of Personalized Learning. Our school team will develop an implementation plan and begin implementing select personalized learning strategies through this cohort. Our school team will bring this information and training back to implement professional development at our school.