Discovery Ed to Work with 7 Schools on STEM/STEAM Initiative - January 09, 2018

Record Number: 16904
Displayed from: Jan 09, 2018 , until: Mar 09, 2018

The Fort Wayne Community Schools Board of School Trustees approved a four-year contract with Discovery Education to provide professional learning services and the development of a project- and inquiry-based learning system at seven schools.

The Board previously approved a contract with Discovery to update and enhance the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum at Irwin Elementary, the District’s science and math magnet school.

The additional contract will add the schools Irwin feeds into – Portage Middle School and Wayne High School – providing STEM instruction beyond elementary school and strengthening the feeder pattern.

In addition, the District’s fine arts magnet schools will be enhanced with a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) initiative. Whitney Young Early Childhood Center, Weisser Park Elementary School, Memorial Park Middle School and South Side High School will incorporate more STEAM-based concepts into the curriculum, as well as focus more on inquiry-based and project-based learning.

The goal is to teach students how to think critically and solve problems at all seven schools. For the arts magnet schools, the fine arts curriculum will be updated and enhanced to include the technology and engineering used in 21st century musical and theatrical performances and graphic arts and design.

“The work with Discovery will not create a curriculum that we will be locked into and may become outdated over time,” said Get Nichols, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education. “We want to create a learning environment where children are immersed in project-based learning and can adapt to the changing world they will encounter.”

Fully developing the programs at the schools will take four years. The first year, 2018-19, will be establishing the vision and building the foundations for STEM/STEAM and communicating with students and parents on the changes and expectations of the methods. The next year, the focus will be on building a foundation for project-based learning. In the third year, teachers will deepen their knowledge in teaching the STEM/STEAM concepts across all subjects and grade levels. The fourth year will be focused on building sustainability for the methods.

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.