TOLEDO, OH (Press Release) - A Maumee Valley Country Day School teacher took part in an exclusive development program over the summer, and will bring what he learned to school with him.
This year, Brian Soash, a 5th and 6th grade math and science teacher from MVCDS in Toledo, will return to his classroom with a deeper understanding of how to integrate real world science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts into classroom instruction. This understanding comes as a result of his participation this summer in a highly-exclusive professional development opportunity sponsored by the Siemens Foundation and administered by Discovery Education and Oak Ridge Associated Universities.
Soash was one of only 50 educators selected after a rigorous application process to take part in the Siemens STEM Institute. The immersion program is designed to promote hands-on, real-world integration of STEM in the classroom and help educators get their students excited about STEM education and careers. The goal of this one-of-a-kind, all-expense-paid fellowship is to create a group of STEM ambassadors who can take what they learn back into their own classrooms and become key influencers in their schools and communities.
Soash and his colleagues spent the week of Aug. 3-8 just outside of Washington, D.C., at the world headquarters of Discovery Communications – the parent company of Discovery Education, the Discovery Channel, Science Channel and Animal Planet – working with leading scientists, thought-leaders, educators and innovators whose work across STEM disciplines inspires and informs science today and the careers of tomorrow.
Soash met other education trailblazers from across the country and gained a better understanding of the importance of STEM achievement in K-12 and workforce readiness.
During a series of engaging sessions throughout the week, Soash explored a variety of topics, including flipped teaching and learning methods, the importance of learning communities for educators and students, digital storytelling, project based learning, and national data about STEM education, among others.
"The Siemens STEM Institute has impacted me this year by further preparing me for my mission of quality, inquiry-based STEM education for my students. I've learned a wealth of new activities, resources, and become part of a larger professional network with the sole purpose of bringing outstanding STEM education into the classroom," said Soash. "I'm already planning how to use activities such as the inflatable lessons to teach biodiversity to my students this September."
As part of the fellowship, participants also visited leading institutions of STEM innovation, including the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the National Building Museum and the White House. At the White House, fellows met with Marisa Bold, Chief of Staff for Innovation and Development at the U.S. Department of Education, to discuss STEM strategic planning and how to incorporate STEM learning through interactive activities with their students. These hands-on experiences introduced the fellows to real-world STEM applications and provided opportunities for networking and collaboration with peers from across the nation.