During the first Long Island STEAM Committee meeting, attendees discussed how to incorporate STEAM principles across all subject areas.
The Long Island STEAM Committee met on April 3rd at the South Huntington District Office to continue the conversation and further discuss district STEAM initiatives and the implementation challenges being faced.
STEAM innovators from South Huntington, Longwood, Kings Park, Hempstead, and Hauppauge school districts were all in attendance. Each of the 5 districts experienced success with their own STEAM-initiatives throughout the year.
Although it’s difficult to narrow down the meeting to just a few paragraphs, we’ve shared the key discussion points below.
It’s all about the kids
At the beginning of the meeting, Dr. Timothy Eagen, Superintendent of Kings Park, proposed the question “what does it mean to produce a globally competitive graduate?”
To answer, Dr. Jared Bloom, South Huntington’s Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Curriculum, expressed that STEAM would be a vital. However, STEAM education is often limited, and offered through specialized programs rather than incorporated into the core curriculum. In lieu of those programs, Dr. Bloom suggested that educators should “provide every student with the experience, exposure, and options to dive deeper into STEAM subjects, should they choose to in the future.”
Low tech is just as important as high tech
STEAM teaches the habits of mind, social skills, and soft skills. It is never, and shouldn’t be, just about the technology. This ideology would make it much easier for educators to incorporate STEAM into every subject rather than just focusing on the actual technology being used.
Dr. Subrina Oliver, Hempstead’s Director of STEM, spoke about how ELA teachers are already incorporating STEAM into their classrooms. Textural evidence, a common ELA practice, can also be referred to scientific inquiry. Dr. Oliver stressed that most STEAM practices are already being used in core classrooms, we just have to help teachers realize it.
Get creative with funding opportunities
Funding is an issue that every district faces. Finding the budget to integrate STEAM education is often times accomplished through grants, donations, and partnerships. Longwood CSD is partnered with Brookhaven National Labs, Kings Park with Office Depot, South Huntington with LaunchPad Long Island, and Hempstead with the New York Islanders and Tri-State Ford. All of these partnerships have been key in helping them fund their incredible STEAM initiatives.
Professional development is key to STEAM success
Professional Development is integral in rolling out a STEAM initiative. In Dr. Bloom’s opinion, bringing in an outside professional source to build capacity within the district’s key tech coaches is the best option. These key coaches tend to be ed-tech teachers since they are already familiar with the technology and are more than willing to share their knowledge. Another option is group curriculum creation, which is something that Kings Park is currently practicing.
Be a part of the team
The Long Island STEAM Committee will meet once a month, and is opening the door for more participants. The committee is looking for district administrators who are passionate about STEAM and would like to share their insight and expertise.
To learn more about the Long Island STEAM Committee and how to participate, email: Emily Brenseke at firstname.lastname@example.org