Application now OPEN for the 2018 STEM Awards!

January 11, 2018

The Finger Lakes Regional STEM Hub is seeking to recognize exemplary K-12 programs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. These programs will be highlighted to inspire others in the education field to incorporate STEM at any level!

Who can apply? Classrooms, schools, districts, and afterschool programs from the 9 county area served by the Finger Lakes STEM Hub: Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates Counties.

How to Apply?  Complete the application on the Finger Lakes STEM Hub website.  Award categories are based on the NYS STEM Quality Rubric, also found on our website, and applicants self-select their program’s level of achievement in each of the 9 categories, highlighting what their program does best!  Applications must be received by March 1, 2018.

Key dates:

  • March 1st – Application Deadline
  • May 16th  – Dinner Reception at RMSC

For full details and to access our online application, please visit the 2018 STEM Awards Page.


Recognition Event: Meet Our Award Recipients!

May 25, 2016

STEM award ribbonAs we wrap up our 2015-2016 STEM Recognition program, we’d like to share a little bit about the amazing programs that we got to know this year.

One of the goals of the Hub has been to highlight exceptional work that is already taking place throughout our area. It is our intention to have an impact on students by providing teachers and administrators with examples of great STEM activities that are happening around us. We want to INSPIRE others to engage students in meaningful STEM lessons throughout their years of school.

We used the NYS STEM Quality Learning Rubric as a guide to indicate the current status of programs as well as to provide them with a vision for future growth.

Over the next several weeks, the STEM Blog will feature  these programs, providing a closer look at these award-winning programs that are enriching STEM experiences for our students throughout the Finger Lakes Region.  We will feature a single school per blog post and include a brief description and some of the slides that they provided to us with their application.  In the meantime, please enjoy the photos from our Recognition Event at the STANYS Central Western Section Science Exploration Days at St. John Fisher College on Friday, May 13th.   There are too many to post, so please click here to view them via google.  We thank STANYS and all of our sponsors for their incredible support!

2016 Award Winners (listed in alphabetical order):

  • Brighton High School – Energy and Sustainability Course
  • Churchville Chili School District – Garden of the Saints
  • Eastridge High School – Project Lead the Way
  • Brockport Central School:  Fred W. Hill Elementary School STEM Program
  • Greece Arcadia High School – Titan Memorial Hospital
  • Greece Athena Middle School – 21st Century STEM Innovative Solutions Expo
  • Lima Primary School – STEAM Education Program
  • Seneca Falls:  Mynderse Academy ­ Robotics Club
  • Nathaniel Rochester Community School ­ NRCS Monthly STEM Challenges
  • Nathaniel Rochester Community School – NRCS STEM School
  • Nathaniel Rochester Community School – NRCS 3rGrade STEM Class
  • Nathaniel Rochester Community School – NRCS Kindergarten Class
  • Rochester Institute of Technology ­ SMASH Experience for Girls
  • Siena Catholic Academy – Ms. Vona’s 6tGrade STEM Class
  • Sodus Middle/High School STEM Program – STEM Challenges Regional Event
  • St. Louis School – STEM Lab
  • Wayland­-Cohocton High School ­ STEAM Program (Timber Framing and Woodland Resources)
  • Wheatland-­Chili Central School District :  K12 STEM Education Program

Learn more about our recognition program by visiting our program page on the Finger Lake STEM Hub website.


Hour of Code: 5th Grade Edition

December 22, 2015

During Computer Science Week, we asked you what you were doing to celebrate the week, or to get in your Hour of Code.  We heard from the Fred W. Hill School, in Brockport.

The Hill school is a busy place.  “The Hill School Learning Community is comprised of wonderful families who send us over 560 magnificent children enrolled in grades 4 and 5. We employ the most dedicated and caring adults who have uncompromising commitment and passion towards educational excellence for our students.” (source:  BCSD website)  This commitment and passion is evident in the classrooms, and their attention to STEM education is just one example.

Heidi Squillante teaches a 5th Grade class at the Hill School.  Her students were excited to share what they have been doing.

An Hour of Code at the Hill School

An Hour of Code at the Hill School

Our class enjoyed doing the “hour of code”. One of my classmates, Matthew, and I had fun completing the Minecraft program. It was like a puzzle; we would connect the little puzzle pieces then hit “run”. We watched for mistakes and fixed them together. It was like video games, in school! – Brennan

Hill 2

hands on learning – prosthetic hands!

In addition to the Hour of Code activities, students in Squillante’s class participate in STEM activities on a regular basis. From Robotics to prosthetics, a variety of STEM topics have been covered already this year.

My 5th grade class participates in STEM twice a month. One thing that I found interesting was when we built prosthetic hands. We used plastic cups, straws, string and tape. I thought that the most interesting time was when we had to make it open and close without using our other hand. Then we added blue foam to make it look realistic, it made it feel more realistic too.       – Indigo

STEM learning goes throughout the Hill school.  School-wide and grade-level programming keep the kids excited about learning.Hill 3

The STEM session I found most interesting was when we created rockets. Our class made rockets out of cardboard, paper and tape. After we constructed our rockets, we launched them with an “air launcher” pressing down on an air pillow to make them go. It was lots of fun and our class hit the target the most of any 5th grade class, 21 times! – Jeffrey

The emphasis on STEM is a district-wide initiative.  Many of the STEM projects are guided by Mr. Coon, who is a technology teacher at Brockport High School.  Mr. Coon travels to the Hill school to give STEM lessons  to all of the 5th grade classrooms on a regular basis.Hill 4

Does your school participate in STEM programming that you would like to share?  We love sharing ideas and activities here at the Hub!  Please send details to our Website and Blog Coordinator, Tammy Bonisteel:  tammybon@empirestem-fl.org

 

 

 

 


STEM Program Awards

December 18, 2015

The Finger Lakes STEM Hub is proud to announce the STEM Program Recognition Awards!

Many school programs around the Finger Lakes Region make STEM Education a priority. The Finger Lakes STEM Hub would like to recognize those programs as models for others in our region.  

STEM award ribbonWho should apply?

Classrooms, schools, districts, and afterschool programs that wish to be recognized for incorporating STEM education into their curriculum.

For full details, please visit the STEM Program Recognition Awards page on the STEM Hub Website.

The application is now open!

The Application Deadline has been extended!  The new deadline is Friday, April 15, 2016 at 5:00 pm.

 


Urgent Need for Volunteers – please share!

October 19, 2015

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Earlier this fall we wrote about why STEM Education was important, and how you could help.  See the full article here.

Rochester Engineering Society’s Volunteer Coordinator Jon Kriegel has many opportunities in our classrooms that are looking for volunteers, and his focus this fall is identifying new volunteers and getting them matched up with area projects.

An informational meeting for anyone interested in volunteering will be held on November 5th at 7:00 PM at the Rochester Museum and Science Center.

This meeting is open to the public, and anyone interested in volunteering is encouraged to attend.

If you are able to attend, please register so that we can make sure we have enough space and materials:  Click here to register.

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Who should attend?

  • Retired Engineers
  • Engineers who work B or C shift
  • Volunteers whose employer supports community involvement during the day
  • Anyone with a STEM background that has time during the school day

What kind of Volunteer Opportunities are available?

Please share this meeting announcement.  The more potential volunteers we can connect with, the better!

For more information on this program, please call RES Volunteer Coordinator Jon Kriegel at (585) 281-5216.


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Recognizing STEM Exemplars

December 8, 2014

Join us for a new blog series as we celebrate the programs recognized by the Student Impact Team of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub.

Each finalist brought a display to highlight their program.

Each finalist brought a display to highlight their program.

This team was formed when student impact was identified as one of the top 3 priorities by the Hub’s Steering Committee.  Our team set out to identify and promote STEM activities and events in the Finger Lakes region that are engaging, exciting, and empowering for students. We created a S.M.A.R.T. Goal that we would “identify and recognize a minimum of 5 exemplary STEM initiatives in the region by September, 2014.”

In fall of 2013, an Action Team was formed to make this Goal a reality. A small group of dedicated people came together to analyze the tasks that we felt were necessary to accomplish. We decided that we would solicit applications from various STEM initiatives and then compare them with a rubric. One of the first challenges we faced was identifying what makes a STEM initiative “exemplary.” Each member conducted research regarding existing rubrics for STEM programs. We shared, met, discussed, and word-smithed the rubrics until we developed one that we felt represented our group’s vision. In addition, our group felt that a STEM initiative could not adequately be evaluated with a rubric based upon a paper application alone. We knew we needed to visit each of the finalist programs. For our first year, we decided to limit the scope of our goal to  programs that happen during the summer only.

After soliciting applications and determining finalists, we set off into the field to visit each of the STEM programs. What a treat that was! Each program had different strengths. Collectively, however, they represented a broad range of STEM programming happening in the Finger Lakes area.

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Teachers at the STANYS Conference browsing the displays

The Five Exemplary Summer STEM initiatives were recognized on November 1st, 2014 at a Science Teacher of New York State (STANYS) conference evening event held at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. Each Finalist was represented at the event and provided information about what is offered, how the program runs, how it is funded, and other details. This allowed the STEM Hub to share the Exemplary programs with the community of teachers from across New York State.

The Exemplary Summer STEM initiatives recognized in 2014 by the Finger Lakes STEM Hub are:

  • Environmental Studies Summer Youth Institute from Hobart & William Smith Colleges
  • STEM Programs in Engineering Education from Vista Teach Instructional Services
  • Lake Ontario STEM Academy from the Sodus CSD and the Wayne Finger Lakes BOCES
  • Carter Street Recreation Center, “STEM Explosion” from the City of Rochester, Department of Recreation and Youth Services
  • Summer Fun Camp Program: Robotics from the Rochester Museum and Science Center
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Teachers had ample opportunity to ask questions about the programs and services

What’s ahead for the Action Team for Student Impact? We will feature a blog series this month celebrating our five exemplary programs.  Each program will be highlighted to give you more information on their program, along with what we saw that made them an exemplary program in our eyes.  In addition, as we celebrate the accomplishment of our goal, we will set new goals for our next program in 2015.

The experience of finding, recognizing, and holding up as examples various types of STEM programs has been inspirational. We hope that we have, in some way, encouraged others to engage in the development of STEM programming that will impact students positively.

The rubric that we developed, along with other information about the program  can be on the Finger Lakes STEM Hub website. Please feel free to use the rubric as a conversation starter,  for professional development or to evaluate an existing STEM program.

In addition, if you are interested in becoming more involved with the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Student Impact Action Team, or have any questions about this program, please contact me at mthomas@monroe2boces.org

Mary W. Thomas is the Assistant Director at the Elementary Science Program offered by Monroe #2 – Orleans BOCES.  She is an active member of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Steering Committee, as well as the Chair for the Student Impact Action Team.

 

 


This is STEM!

May 17, 2012

Michelle Kavanaugh
Superintendent
Honeoye Falls-Lima School District

Note:  This is fifth in a series of posts by members of the Finger Lakes STEM hub Steering Committee and Board of Champions. Dr. Kavanaugh was a speaker at the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Launch on May 10th, 2012. Below is the transcript of her presentation.

This is an exciting moment for regional K-12 education.  The Hub is one of the most promising supports in our mission to assure all students are college and career-ready. At a time when local employers are being forced to leave STEM-related jobs unfilled, school districts and colleges share a mandate in providing students with pathways and experiences that lead to a more vibrant future.  Together, we face a new-era Sputnik-type of imperative to change the course of education.

STEM education is a catalyst for a new tomorrow because it can engage, excite and empower.  It can lift up learning because it challenges students to think critically, collaborate and solve complex problems.  It can inspire because it is built on forging four meaningful connections.  Here is what I mean:

#1)  Connections with the Real World – Nothing is more motivating for learners than when rolling up their sleeves to do hands-on experiences that are relevant to their interests and to their future opportunities.  For example:  Solving authentic environmental problems or interning in local businesses – this is STEM!

#2)  Connections across Content Areas – Students are involved in solving complex problems when they can design new solutions and explore innovations by applying knowledge broadly across subject boundaries.  For example:  Robotics competitions – this is STEM!

#3)  Connections with Higher Standards – STEM learning is rigorous and aligned with industry standards as well as state and national core curriculum and the newly-released Next Generation National Science Standards.  For example:  the Hub’s plan to inspire student created video productions based on inquiry and media literacy, as seen in the Hub’s Video – this is STEM!

#4) Connections with Business and Community – STEM learning requires the active involvement of leaders and enlightened volunteers across economic sectors.  For example:  partnerships that support learning with the Rochester Museum & Science Center, Siemens and Xerox – this is STEM!

The Hub is poised to provide schools support for professional development, and sharing of innovative practices.  This gives us hope and great promise. A recent Hub-sponsored tour of an East Syracuse school district is an example of the work of the Hub in building local capacity through valuable networking.

On behalf of K-12 educators, we call on each of you to join us in making STEM education a local covenant for building a better future.

Michelle Kavanaugh is a member of the Finger Lakes STEM hub Steering Committee.


Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators

December 27, 2011

Are you a teacher, or do you know an outstanding teacher, who uses innovative approaches to teach about environmental education? The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE) recognizes outstanding kindergarten through grade 12 teachers who apply innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for exploratory and integrated learning.

As discussed in the “America’s Great Outdoors: A Promise to Future Generations” report, in order to make environmental stewardship and conservation relevant to young Americans, environmental and place-based, experiential learning must be integrated into school curricula and facilities across the country.

This program recognizes outstanding kindergarten through grade 12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students.

“This awards program will highlight and encourage innovative ways to getter integrate environmental issues into our young people’s everyday learning experiences—helping to turn environmental education into environmental action,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe.

Two teachers from each of EPA’s 10 regional offices will be selected to receive this award.  Visit EPA’s teacher award website at http://www.epa.gov/education/teacheraward.

Applications for the PIAEE are due on January 31, 2012.


Inquiry Based Science in Action at McQuaid

March 9, 2011

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In June 2010 I profiled McQuaid Jesuit science teacher Jeanne Kaidy on The STEM Blog.

Kaidy had just been named by President Barack Obama as one of 103 American teachers to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Kaidy, who has been teaching for thirteen years and is the chair of the science department at McQuaid Jesuit, attributed her recognition for the unique hands-on, inquiry based approach she brings to teaching science.

“I have an entirely inquiry and hands-on approach to teaching,” Kaidy said. “It appeals to kids who need tactile hands-on learning. That’s really what science is.”

Last week Kaidy invited me to see her approach in person when her AP Environmental Studies students presented their Mock Wolf Trial – a culmination of a month of research and preparation.

The excitement in her classroom was palpable when I arrived.

The boys – mostly juniors and seniors – were busy making final touches on their costumes.  Most had changed out of McQuaid’s signature navy blazer, khaki pants, and tie uniform and into clothes that represented the characters they would role-play during the trial.

Among the costumes were: an environmental activist, a Yellowstone National Park official, the governor of New York, a dairy farmer, a deer hunter, a commercial land developer, an ecotourism tour operator and more.

The name of the mock-trial was “Bringing Back the Wolves” and the question posed was “Should gray wolves (Canis lupus) be reintroduced to the northeastern U.S. (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York)?

Kaidy set up her classroom like a courtroom – on one side were the plaintiff’s – the “Defenders of Wildlife” arguing that wolves should be reintroduced to the wild.  On the other side were the defendants – the State Government of Maine – arguing against the reintroduction of the wolves.  In the middle was the witness stand.

As the “trial” got underway it was instantly clear that Kaidy’s students on both sides had prepared.

To facilitate preparation, prior to the hearing each team had to submit finished copies of opening and closing statements, a list of questions for witnesses (with expected answers), a list of questions expected on cross-examination (with answers) and a complete bibliography.

Each student also had to submit a reflection paper and a position paper.

The trial was judged by teachers Kaidy asked to observe.  The teachers scored the teams on opening statement, questioning, closing statements, judges questions, team participation, and costumes.

While I personally favored the costumes and team spirit on the plaintiff’s’ side, as the trial progressed I could see more preparation on the defendants’ side come through.  Having grown up in the Adirondacks and knowing a bit about this issue myself, I thought the plaintiffs would have a slam dunk, but by the trial’s end it was obvious the defendants won.

Kaidy said this is not the first time this has happened. “Sometimes the defendants prepare more because they feel they will be the underdog,” Kaidy said. “We saw that today.”

I spoke to members from both sides of the courtroom after the trial and quickly forgot what side they were on – what stood out was how much they had learned.

“This experience totally changed my opinion about wolves,” said senior George Grobe. “I learned more by having to research the issue myself instead of just hearing about it from Ms. Kaidy.”

Junior Alex Bourdelais agreed.

“I like hands on work,” Bourdelais said. “I learned that with the re-introduction of any species you have to look at the direct consequences and the indirect consequences. Sometimes the indirect are more important like we saw today.”

And, junior John Buono enjoyed the experience so much he is considering a career in environmental law.

Kaidy was pleased with the trial.

“Both sides had a lot of team work and showed me they understood the ecology, economics, and politics of wolves,” Kaidy said. “Those are all parts of what environmental science is.”

As I was leaving the classroom I noticed a bumper sticker on Kaidy’s blackboard that said:

“The truly educated never graduate.”

I believe Kaidy’s approach to teaching will absolutely ensure that even as these young men leave McQuaid they will carry with them an inquiry based approach to learning that does not stop when the assignments do.

Article and photos by Caurie Putnam


President Obama Names McQuaid Teacher Tops in STEM Education

June 21, 2010

Ms. Jeanne Kaidy of McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester, NY

Jeanne Kaidy – a science teacher at McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester – has been named one of the top STEM educators in the nation by President Barack Obama. 

On June 7, Kaidy was one of 103 American teachers announced by President Obama as a recipient of the 2010 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.  Kaidy was only one of two teachers from New York State to win this prestigious honor.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is given annually to the best pre-college-level science and mathematics teachers in the nation. Recipients are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level.  Winners receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation and an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. for an awards ceremony at the White House.  

In the official White House press release listing Kaidy as a recpient President Obama said: “Science and technology have long been at the core of America’s strength and competitiveness and the scientists and engineers who have led America on its remarkable path to success share something very precious: science and math teachers who brought these critical subjects to life.” 

Obama continued: “Today we honor some of the best of these teachers and thank them for their dedication. They are inspirations not just to their students, but to the Nation and the world.”

Kaidy was nominated for the award by an anonymous source at the Advanced Placement College Board – a testing organization she does consulting work for.  Following her nomination she had to write a 25 page essay on her philosophy of teaching.  When she found out she was one of President Obama’s choices for the award she was thrilled, but found her students were just as excited as she was.

Kaidy's students from McQuaid doing research at Mendon Ponds.

Kaidy has been teaching for twelve years.  All of her teaching – including student teaching – has been at McQuaid.  In addition to teaching biology and AP environmental science, she is also the chair of the science department.  She has a Bachelor of Science in biology with a concentration in aquatic ecology from State University of New York at Brockport, and Master of Science in education from Nazareth College of Rochester.

In speaking with Kaidy it was readily apparent what makes her unique as a STEM educator. “I am a scientist at heart,” Kaidy said, “That is how I see the world.”  Kaidy lives the subject she teaches and treats her students as scientists as well. “I am a purist,” Kaidy said, “I teach the scientific method and what scientists do in the real world. I treat my students like scientists and give them as much exposure to the real world as I can.”

When students enter Kaidy’s Advanced Placement environmental science course they quickly learn that Kaidy is not a teacher that confines her lesson plans to the classroom.  “The first thing we do is go white water rafting,” Kaidy said. “They learn the intrinsic value of nature and it brings the class together quickly.”

Some of the other unique experiences Kaidy gives her students are a mock wolf trial – where the class debates reintroducing wolves into the Adirondacks and field work at Mendon Ponds.  At Mendon Ponds her students must design their own experiments ahead of time. All of her lessons are problem solving and inquiry based.

Another trait that sets Kaidy apart is her willingness to fail in front of her students.  “I am not afraid to try new things in the classroom even if they [the experiments] fail,” Kaidy said, “If you model risk tasking in front of your students they won’t be afraid to take risks either.”

The teacher not afraid to fail has won the most prestigious teaching award in the county – there is a lesson to be learned in that.

Article by Caurie Miner Putnam, Coordinator of the STEM Mentor Program at the Rochester Area Colleges Center for Excellence in Math and Science.