On the morning of Saturday, January 26, more than 60 elementary teachers from across the state (centralized in the Piedmont Triad area) came together in the UNCG School of Education building to participate in STEMergizing Saturday, a 3 hour long session on integrating STEM into their classrooms. The goal of this event was for regional educators to learn and grow together so that they feel supported to engage their students in robust science and engineering. “The STEM TLC is a professional network of teachers, most of whom teach in high needs schools, who are dedicated to improving all students’ educational opportunities as their highest priority,” says Dr. Heidi Carlone, Hooks Distinguished Professor of STEM Education at UNCG.
Visiting students and faculty from Shanghai Normal University also had the opportunity to participate in the professional development and shared ideas with local elementary school teachers during STEMergizing Saturday. The event sparked the next phase of teacher support for the STEM TLC. Last summer the program brought together more than 60 teachers from Guilford and Rockingham County for its 6th Summer Institute, and STEMergizing Saturday continued the momentum of the camaraderie and commitment that participation in the UNCG STEM TLC instills.
STEMergizing Saturday also launched an opportunity for teachers to participate in STEM TLC Communities of Inquiry throughout Spring 2019. These communities will give teachers a chance to work closely with colleagues as they explore challenges and victories related to their science instruction. “Teachers leave the Summer Institute galvanized to make real change in their science instruction,” says Carlone. “The Communities of Inquiry we are co-creating with teachers will help sustain and support their efforts.”
UNCG STEM Teacher Collaborative History and Mission
The UNCG STEM Teacher Leader Collaborative, affectionately known as the STEM TLC, is a community of teachers, administrators, and university faculty working side by side in support of educators implementing science and engineering in high-need elementary schools in the Piedmont Triad. Since its inception in 2013, UNCG STEM TLC has nurtured teacher leaders across the region and inspired them to bring science and engineering back into their classrooms, reach for more professional learning and higher educational degrees, participate in conferences, and represent UNCG nationally at subsequent Teach to Lead Summits in both the capacity of participants and critical friends. This support network collaborates, celebrates and works to sustain teachers’ efforts to include rigorous and responsive science and engineering education in their elementary classrooms across the Piedmont. The UNCG STEM Teacher Leader Collaborative strives to empower teachers, nurture STEM equity, and create a “we” culture.