Professional Development for Teachers: STEM

High-quality teaching is vital for student success.  We can all agree that quality professional development is essential to improving teaching.  When teaching improves, students will benefit.

I'm very passionate about providing quality professional development in our schools.  I think it is important for leaders to model the same kind of delivery as we expect from our very own teachers in the classrooms.


STEM is everywhere- all around us.  STEM must also be a strong force in our schools.  Did you know the fastest growing careers are in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math?  Exposure to STEM/STEAM is important in the 21st century learning as it allows our students to succeed in higher education, as well as, a variety of those career choices.  STEM isn't just for Career and Technology classes or for secondary students.  This is a vision that should begin in the early grades.

The benefits of STEM in the classroom builds many non-academic traits.  Students will build creativity, collaboration, communication, teamwork, critical thinking skills, confidence, perseverance, risk-taking, and so on...  Regardless of college or no college degree, every future career choice will require these skills.

With that all beginning said, I have decided to start sharing some PD resources with you.  I hope you find this as a big help to you as a school leader.  

How does this work?

Just download the Professional Development for Teachers:STEM resource and prepare an amazing day for your staff.  


Supplies - Needed (A shopping list provided. Most of the supplies you probably already have on campus.  All supplies very inexpensive.)

In the Professional Development for Teachers and Staff: STEM, I have included a traditional presentation, 6 hands-on learning stations for teachers, a planning and design sheet, STEM/STEAM Posters for the classroom, Engineering Design Posters, Informational Guide and STEM Station Table Tents.  

STEM Station Table Tents

If you are just starting out implementing STEM or any other new instructional endeavor, professional development (PD) is not a one time event. PD is a process that should be consistently scheduled throughout the year. Please do not make this STEM PD the only resource you use. It is meant to give your teachers an overview of it and experience hands-on learning. Use any part(s) or all of this resource. Try adding to it with your own ideas and creations.

Every school is unique. The teachers on your campus may have background in STEM and some may have little to no experience. I suggest using your teachers with experience to help lead this PD, as well as, any future trainings. I’m all for teacher leadership and empowering our own staff.

Prior to starting this training, set up your training room with the designated stations. Create additional stations, if you wish. Decide how you will group your staff and how many adults will be in each group.

Professional development should be experienced! It should be relevant, engaging, and practical. This should not be a SIT-AND-GET or a one-size-fits-all training. Have fun! Take pictures! Make classroom connections throughout the day by asking, “how and what will our students benefit from this?”

The bottom-line- Professional development is about increasing student achievement. This all starts with growing our staff. Make sure there is follow-up training and follow-through in the classroom. The learning doesn’t end in the training room.

Download Professional Development for Teachers and Staff: STEM


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Use Data to Improve Student Achievement

Schools are not lacking data.  We are data warehouses! We have data all around us- soft data and hard data.  It's not about having enough data.  It's about knowing how to USE the data to improve student achievement.  I'm not going to share why data matters.  I think it is safe to say we know it does.  If your school district does not have a data management system that can disaggregate the data, here are some forms you might like to print and share with your teachers.

I have updated the Targeted Data file on Teachers Pay Teachers.  It now includes Data Inventory Mats for Reading and Math.  All you need to do is use your own school data and create the inventory mat.

Data Inventory Mats for Reading and Math
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Groups can be color-coordinated as shown.  Green, Blue, Yellow, and Red symbolize student groups- Above level, Bubble, Intervention, and Urgent.  When I say bubble, these students are on level or slightly below.  These are the students that worry me the most because they tend to be inconsistent any day of the week.  One minute they are doing okay and then the next they are below level.

Targeted data means looking in-depth at each student, each skill, and each standard to determine a course of action or to determine the root cause of deficiency in student groups or instructional design.  The next step is to set challenging goals and intensive instructional interventions for each group.  It's very important that as leaders we are proactive in our approach when looking at data.

If you are just starting out developing a system of accountability on campus, here are a few suggestions.


1.  Make sure student assessments are reliable forms of measure.  Are you assessing students often enough to get the data?  Is the assessment assessing what it needs to assess?  Are the results really reliable and valid?

2.  Data needs to be used consistently in team meetings, during small group instruction, and a part of your culture of the campus.

3.  The data determines the needs of the students and the needs of the staff.  For example, what do your students need to be successful?  What do your teachers need to ensure students are successful?

4.  Match student needs to the intervention.   (The purpose of any assessment is to identify skills to target for aligning instruction to specific student needs in reading and math.)

5.  Create a culture that supports using data to change instruction and improve student achievement.

Making sense of data is tiresome.  It is even a part of the job that most administrators do not enjoy.  I just so happen to love data analysis.  However, it can be an enormous task for any single administrator.  That's why we need to invite teachers to sit at the data table.  It's so important that teachers analyze their data.  It is not only good practice, but it is meaningful data to them.  They know their students better than you do.  Involve your teachers in setting goals for themselves and their students.  Encourage your teachers to reflect upon their progress to help them determine what worked, what didn't, and what they might do differently next time.

If you are interested in downloading these Data Inventory Mats, check out the Targeted Data file on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Other resources you might like:  Data Talks and Forms


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