By Meg Osterhoff | STEM Coordinator/Coach | York Elementary School

“When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are, anything your heart desires will come to you…” or at least that’s what happened to us when WakeEd Partnership linked up with York Elementary School. WakeEd Partnership is an incredible organization that allows your dreams to become reality. We were the lucky recipients of not only one but two Teacher Innovation Grants. This allowed our school to gain access to the latest technology that was being used to teach STEM at home! One of our goals as a school was to be on the forefront of the latest research and design projects for students that would accelerate them forward. Students have latched onto these technologies and love manipulating them. We couldn’t have done this without our partnership!

York Elementary World Cafe

 

Not only does WakeEd offer Teacher Innovation Grants, but they also created SummerSTEM. SummerSTEM is an insightful week full of immersion and excitement. Teachers are partnered with businesses in order to create project-based learning (PBL) STEM units based on skills seen in the immersion. Teachers integrate these units into their curriculum to showcase authentic, real-life experiences in the workplace. Students work on projects in teams in order to answer driving questions and problem-solve for solutions.

My teachers have another PBL unit to implement in their classrooms because I was able to attend SummerSTEM. Student engagement is at an all-time high and one of the companies with whom we partnered during the summer has come to York to judge many of our engineering competitions! That’s just one small impact that this teacher immersion experience has had on our school. The ripple effect of this program is in the works, with more and more teachers creating PBL STEM units inspired by this opportunity.

 


As if that wasn’t enough, WakeEd also partners with York Elementary School to do “Partners Read,” a volunteer-based program where business volunteers come to York each Friday to read with students at school. We are pleased to have Delta Dental of North Carolina along with retired WCPSS teachers reading with our students each week. This allows the community to build relationships with the school as well as the students in it. Students read with their partner and then are given books to build their library at home, which builds their fluency and comprehension skills while at school.

WakeEd is one of those all-around organizations that makes all your dreams come true. If it weren’t for WakeEd Partnership, our school would be at a loss when it comes to receiving grants, partnering with local companies, as well as encouraging and facilitating opportunities for teacher professional development through SummerSTEM. We are very blessed to have WakeEd as part of our school community!