By Brad Pedersen| Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Norwin School District administrators hope to stress the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics – or STEM – courses to students by offering more classes, camps and competitions.
District officials hope to begin developing several new courses and STEM-based activities for students at every grade level before the end of the year, according to Tracy McNelly, assistant superintendent of secondary education.
“We want to build awareness of the STEM fields with our students as early as kindergarten,” she said.
The district plans to add eight additional courses and about a dozen STEM-based activities across the district in the next two to three years, McNelly said. The additional programming would not cost the district more money, because officials hope to secure grants for any new equipment, she said.
The plans also do not require any additional teacher hires, McNelly said.
The district offers robotics courses in third and fourth grades, along with grades seven through twelve, McNelly said.
She said administrators plan to apply for a $60,000 grant from the Pittsburgh-based Grable Foundation to implement a robotics program in grades five and six.
“We currently have it in the elementary, middle and high schools, but not Hillcrest,” McNelly said. “This would really help complete our robotics continuum.”
The district offers the majority of its STEM courses in grades seven through 12, but hopes to continue to build upon their existing curriculum, McNelly said.
Next year, officials plan to develop STEM academies for students in ninth grade to work on during their activity period, McNelly said.
“We want things to deal with authentic real world tasks, problem solving and really get kids working together,” she said. “Not all kids are going into the STEM fields, but we want opportunities for all kids to be exposed to it.”
Superintendent William Kerr said the expanded curriculum and activities is a good way to get students prepared for future vocations, and make Norwin students more competitive in the job market.
“It's not just in Norwin, but nationally, there is a lack of skilled workers in STEM related businesses and industries,” Kerr said. “We want to fill that gap.”
Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.