In recent years, the Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation has been a leader in Indiana when it comes to STEM education.
And, this year is no different, as Dr. Jack Parker’s district continues to pave the way.
“STEM is very important in all curricular content areas of all of our buildings from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. However, there are also the 4C’s of STEM education: Collaboration, Creativity, Communication and Critical Thinking. Each of the 4Cs can and should be interwoven in all content areas including non-STEM specific courses like reading at the elementary levels and English at the middle school and high school levels. Our teachers have been trained in the 4Cs and incorporate them in all courses,” Parker told Giant FM.
The district’s STEM buy-in has been so strong, it became the first district in Indiana to become STEM certified in all grades. Several STEM specific courses offered to students include: a middle school robotics course, middle school technology education course, a high school intro to engineering and design course, a high school intro to housing and interior design, as well as an aviation course.
The distinction has also helped the district land a partnership with 1st Maker Space and the creation of a maker space room. The room allows students a hands-on opportunity to design, experiment, build and invent in courses like agriculture, art, language, family and consumer sciences, math, technology, business, social studies, JAG, English and science.
“We have a formal maker-space at our high school and our middle school and Fortville Elementary School have makerspaces incorporated in our media centers. Teachers and students have access to the makerspaces to enhance their lessons or enhance student projects to capture their learning of the content,” Parker told Giant FM.
Parker said the district continues to look for new ways to incorporate STEM for students.
“All of our educators are continuously looking to incorporate innovative and engaging lessons and activities for our students. STEM related lessons and activities are some of the most innovative and engaging; therefore, we are always looking to add as many STEM opportunities as possible. Specifics of future opportunities are difficult to pinpoint, but we are looking to be able to offer additional Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses at the high school including Project Lead The Way courses,” Parker said.