The school district is in the process of creating an advisory team for Career Technical Education (CTE) and Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) curriculum.
As Superintendent Winfred Roberson explained on Thursday, “Part of the mission of DJUSD is that we would be a leading center of educational innovation.” He sees CTE and STEM as providing that opportunity for DJUSD to becoming that leader in the field.
“We already have great offerings, but we can do more,” he said. “We are in the process of forming a CTE/STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Agriculture/Arts & Mathematics) advisory. Our mission is to ignite a level of learning in every student. We currently offer excellent secondary program focused on preparing students with 21st Century learning skills, ensuring that our students are college and career ready is a central part of our strategic plan.”
“CTE and STEAM education has emerged as a primary for educators to collaborate around and design a program that provides students alternative and/or pathways for success,” he continued. “Recently here in Davis, we’ve seen growth in our ag department and in the field of robotics. We want to capture that energy and excitement by supporting the CTE/STEM related fields on behalf of our students.”
There are objectives for the CTE/STEAM curriculum that the superintendent laid out. First, he wants to qualify Davis High for a national C-STEM school. “I don’t think there’s any reason why Davis Senior High should not (qualify). It’s probably very close to qualifications right now,” he said. “I think it will be indicative of where we are as a community and what we support.”
“We want to integrate STEAM thinking into the school curriculum,” he continued. “We want to increase student interest in participation in the STEAM courses. We want to design and expand C-STEAM pathways in the DJUSD. We want to build a C-STEAM community support network for our students as well as our teachers. At the same time, we want to seek STEAM related intern opportunities for our students.”
On July 30, Superintendent Roberson sent out a letter to community members and STEAM professionals at UC Davis asking them to serve as part of the proposed CTE/STEM Advisory Team.
The group will meet eight times in the 2015-2016 school year over the course of six months. According to the letter, “The charge will be to begin to identify academic pathways, create course capstones and develop recommendations for STEM integration.”
Superintendent Roberson writes, “We value efforts of all those involved in developing, implementing and supporting CTE programs. As we strive to expand our capacity and better our programs, we seek collaboration with partners in secondary and postsecondary education, business and industry, as well as with our community of parents and students. Through partnership and the sharing of expertise, we seek to enhance our CTE programs, curriculum and facilities and to prepare students to meet the challenges of our world.”
The first meeting of the CTE/STEM Advisory team will be Tuesday, August 18, 2015.
He told the Board on Thursday, “The STEAM advisory will be a key component to help advance our missions to be this leading center of education and innovation.”
Superintendent Roberson indicated that they are looking to put a CTE Coordinator in place to help drive this.
He said the time is right and “I’m excited about the possibilities for us.” He talked about the accomplishments, both in ag as well as robotics. The center that they are talking about building is one component of this plan. “I’m excited to bring experts in our community together, experts within DJUSD who are passionate to begin to develop these pathways.”
Alan Hirsch expressed some concerns with the language in the agenda, that was somewhat modified. It said, “Partner with the city to realize the benefits to district programs with development, partnering with the innovation park the city is studying.”
He said, “That’s a very controversial program. They’re talking about annexing enough growth for forty years of industrial development which negates Measure R. It hasn’t been approved by the citizens yet. We’ll do it because it will be financially good for the city and the school district – we have models of that.”
Mr. Hirsch cited the schools of Woodland with all their development. “Are those schools rich?” he asked. “Whether these sprawling industrial growth areas are really good for the school district is really still a question.”
“I’m really concerned about the process too, because the city staff is only studying one alternative to solve the financial problems. These innovation parks, so called, industrial growth.”
The following are the CTE/STEM Objectives:
- Qualify Davis Senior HS as a national STEAM school
- Integrate STEAM thinking into the school curriculum
- Increase student interest and participation in CTE/STEAM courses
- Design, develop & expand CTE/STEAM pathways & offerings at DHS
- Build a CTE/STEAM community support network for students and teachers
- Seek CTE/STEAM related internship opportunities for students
STEAM programs are designed as a way to integrate science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics in the classroom. These programs aim to teach students to think critically with an engineering or design approach towards real-world problems, while building on their math and science base.
—David M. Greenwald reporting