Cowley ISD Adds STEM to Elementary Classes – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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Heads up parents: The State of Texas is requiring elementary teachers to incorporate STEM – that’s science, technology, engineering, and math studies – in all elementary school subjects by 2025.

One local school district is getting a jump start on it.

On Thursday, Crowley ISD is celebrating “STEM For All Day”.

“Our motto here is stem for all so it doesn’t matter where you come from. You don’t have to go in and apply for a specialized school,” said Silvia Valencia, coordinator of innovations for Crowley ISD.

Crowley ISD is one of the very first districts to fully implement these types of lessons on all their elementary campuses.

NBC 5 caught up with teachers this week as they prepped and transformed their classrooms for this new journey, one they have spent the last two years preparing for.

“We have some students that are building air-powered cars with balloons. We have some students making bricks and testing their durability. We have students learning about shapes are making different creations. And we also have students making different buildings or learning the architecture,” said Lauren Kelly, STEM and GT specialist at Oakmont Elementary in Crowley. “Really building up what we call the soft skills so that students are prepared for future jobs and careers.”

To prepare for this role, Kelly even spent a weekend in Houston to get trained on NASA programs and meet astronauts.

“We got together with about 60 of us and then we got to spend a week together, just really diving into STEM activities. And I brought back all of this knowledge to help my students here in the district with different space-related activities and content” said Kelly.

The Texas Education Agency is pushing ahead on a mandate that all teachers in all grade levels will add STEM practices to all subjects at elementary campuses by 2025. Valencia said it’s part of an effort to address the ever-changing world we are living in, as technology evolves and the workforce needs to evolve with it.

“We’re not teaching students for all of them to be doctors and engineers and architects. We want them to start thinking like one. How can we solve real-life problems that are happening today?” said Valencia. “They can just use all of these skills as they go through middle school, high school, and into college – into other future careers. Also teaching them about the different possibilities that they have.”

Science, technology, engineering, and math skills are needed now more than ever and those career fields are growing.

Right now, all Texas school districts are slowly putting together a STEM plan in elementary schools. They still have three more years to get it done.

Crowley ISD got the ball rolling two years ago when the TEA first announced this mandate but it’s not easy.

“Our STEM teachers are not part of our rotation. They are standalone specialists who go and push lessons and model lessons,” said Valencia.

That’s why the district is just getting to a point where teachers are trained and ready to launch.

“There are some districts that don’t have anything at all yet,” said Valencia. “We’re very excited that we’re going to be a model district, where other districts can come and see how we implement STEM on all campuses.”

Educators say now might be a good time for parents to check in with their child’s school to learn more about the STEM studies plan, as teachers work hard to prepare for the state mandate.

Cowley ISD Adds STEM to Elementary Classes – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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