The Quest for STEM: A Model Guide for Integrating STEM into Schools
Fundamental to the implementation of any large, whole school initiative is the collaborative inclusion of stakeholders to generate buy-in and connection to the larger vision. A community of practice provides structure to develop common language and goals, an opportunity to identify skill-set gaps, and a shared space for measuring progress. In this workshop, attendees will learn to implement a proven model for successful STEM integration leveraging a community of practice, which gives structure and consistency for sustained growth. Schools and districts with limited bandwidth or capacity need useful frameworks for implementing specific instructional initiatives to improve achievement for struggling learners. This interactive session is ideal for those looking to integrate improved STEM instruction and 21st Century Skills for learners.
With over 30 years in education working in both K-12 public education and the non-profit sector. Dr. Bihr is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Academic Solutions Group, LLC. Dr. Bihr’s expertise in STEM ranges from program development, leadership, and includes the creation of sustainable, equitable learning methodologies. As the Vice President of Programs and Education for the TGR Foundation – A Tiger Woods Charity, Bihr led the development of the TGR Learning Lab a facility dedicated to helping young people connect school to the workforce through STEM. As a result of the success of the Learning Lab, she realized the importance of sharing this work with educators to improve organizational and student performance in STEM by designing TGR EDU: Create, a professional learning program, and TGR EDU: Explore, a digital resource designed for educators to use with students. Prior to joining TGR Foundation, she was the principal of Vista View Middle School a Title I, California Distinguished School. Bihr was the 2019 Chair of the STEM Funders Network, a national organization providing STEM resources and professional learning for teachers, parents and out-of-school providers. She also serves on the board of directors for Project Tomorrow, which supports the innovative uses of STEM resources in K-12 schools and communities; advises a variety of business leaders through an EdTech accelerator; and, provides coaching to non-profit leaders. In addition, Dr. Bihr serves as adjunct faculty for the Organizational Leadership Doctoral program at the University of Southern California, Rossier School of Education.
Jason Porter has been a STEM educator since 2003, first at the university level, teaching biology courses to undergraduates, and then at the K-12 level from 2012-2017. In addition to serving as a High School AP Biology teacher at a Title 1 supported High School in Philadelphia, Jason served multiple teacher leadership roles, including science department chair and regional curriculum coordinator for STEM, as well as serving as the facilitator of a weekend STEM enrichment program, supported by TGR Fountain. In 2016, Jason became a High School Assistant Principal. This represented a shift in Jason’s career from primarily instructing students to serving as an instructional coach and curriculum leader, which particularly meshed with his interests and talents. In 2017, Jason joined TGR Foundation as Director of Professional Learning, co-managing a team of facilitators to develop and run over 100 in-person and online workshops focused on transferring inquiry strategies to educators to develop successful STEM classrooms. In this role, Jason had the opportunity to work with many schools across the US (especially in California and on the East Coast) with American supported international schools and with rural schools in both Africa and South America. Through this work, Jason and his team started to see connections between supporting teachers in their classrooms and the foundational needs of integrating STEM across an entire school. Through the adoption of STEM frameworks from Carnegie Science Center (Pittsburgh, PA) and PEAR Institute (Cambridge, MA), Jason and his team were able to help leaders and teachers better understand the fundamental needs of STEM program development and management, leading to sustainable programs. Jason is currently serving as a Senior Education Strategy Consultant for Academic Solutions Group, continuing the work of connecting schools and districts to the tools they need to develop powerful STEM programs for their students and the organizational structures to sustain these programs.