“St. Vrain Valley Schools’ innovative STEM curriculum is preparing students to help drive the next era of cognitive computing.”
- Ray Chancey, Director, IBM Watson Labs
Each year, the program reaches roughly 6,000 of the district’s highest need students by serving the focus feeder system as well as the district’s Title 1 schools. Over the next 5 years, our hope is to extend this programming to cover closer to 50% of the district’s 32,000 students. Program evaluations indicate significant gains in student academic language development (especially for our English Language Learners), student engagement with STEM programming and self-identification as a STEM literate student, and teacher engagement through curriculum development.
We incorporate design thinking, industry partnerships, teacher involvement in curriculum development, career awareness, and postsecondary readiness into world-class programming. The three overarching goals of the initiative are to provide 1) rigorous PK-12 programming for all students (including STEM) at all levels, 2) personalized programming to improve student engagement and increase graduation rates and postsecondary readiness, and 3) professional opportunities to apply STEM-focused skills at the Innovation Center - an entrepreneurial space where students work alongside industry partners on professional projects.
Data collection and partnerships with industry mentors inform our approach to meeting Colorado Academic Standards through project-based learning and high levels of student involvement. Students advance their knowledge of STEM while engaged in design thinking, a problem-solving tool and basis for instructional design. Teachers integrate multiple disciplines into core projects, personalizing career and academic plans through the development of industry-driven curriculum, with connections to local and global community challenges.
Our commitment to sustaining and replicating this work drives our efforts to lead an era of educational excellence and reform.
Potential program supporters can get involved in a number of ways.
Support MakerSpaces: converting school libraries into viable maker spaces with resources and equipment that would provide teachers and students with an area to create projects and experiment with materials. Resources needed for each school(15) makerspace: $12,000
Support Industry Certifications: Students are taking semester courses to become certified for the Information Technology industry. Students can chose three areas to become certified: $25,000 per year = 125 students
Support strategic planning and Vision for the District Innovation Center with IDEO- Phase I sessions for a team from IDEO to help create a framework and sustainability strategies for the next 5 years for St. Vrain school district STEM initiatives. Phase I cost: $250K
Provide STEM professional volunteers:
The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against CTEq's Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.
Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.
Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.
Ensure work is sustainable.
Demonstrate replicability and scalability.
Create high impact partnerships
Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.
Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience
Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.
Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.
Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.