With congressional funding earmarked for education, curriculum leaders and administrators from Central Kitsap School District in Washington state were on the lookout for new materials to support their teaching goals. After seeing success in STEM among teachers who were already using EiE® units in their classrooms, Doug Dowell, STEM Coordinator and Grant Supervisor for CKSD, sought to partner with EiE to expand upon that success district-wide.
When asked why the district chose to partner with EiE to meet their STEM learning needs, Doug said, “[w]e liked how there was research backing up the EiE units and that [the units have] been field-tested and iterated over the years and across many different communities.”
To support the partnership, members of EiE’s Professional Development team traveled to Silverdale, in Kitsap County, WA over the summer to help educators from across the district reinvigorate and transform their STEM teaching practices. During the workshops, educators examined the foundations of EiE’s teaching methodology, learned about the curriculum in depth, and collaboratively explored model units from our curricula, developing the skills and confidence needed to bring STEM learning to life in their own classrooms.
With this new funding and partnership, Central Kitsap School District was able to expand their implementation of EiE materials from just Engineering is Elementary®, 2nd Edition to now include Wee Engineer®, EiE® for Kindergarten, and our K–5 Engineering and Computer Science Essentials™ curriculum. “We loved that the new Essentials units also integrated/included computer science in context with an engineering-specific unit,” said Doug.
Before the initial on-site workshops, about 1/3 of the attendees reported feeling prepared to teach using EiE’s curricula and supplemental learning materials. Afterwards, a majority of respondents felt they were fully prepared to teach using EiE’s STEM curricula.
Later in summer 2022, select members from the original training traveled to the Museum of Science in Boston to participate in an additional train-the-trainer workshop, EiE’s Certified Educator Institute (CEI), focused on EiE’s teaching methodology and curricula. During the four-day, on-site workshop, attendees explored and learned about the theory and pedagogy behind all of EiE’s research-based, award-winning curricula and materials, and had additional practice with the resources they will use to support others in their implementation back in Washington.
“I’ve heard a LOT of positive comments from our teachers both after the June & July trainings, and especially after the August CEI training at the MOS,” Doug said. “Before the training, there was a mixed bag of feelings/emotions about teaching [computer science], but the majority seemed to have some level of anxiety — from mild to significant. The genesis of this seemed to be primarily rooted in their lack of experience/training in computer science and engineering.”
“Afterwards, the general consensus was a feeling of excitement at being able to expose their students to something (CS) that they know they will need in order to be successful in their lives moving forward,” said Doug.
When asked about their overall experience, attendee Katelynn Harken replied, “this was a career/life changing experience… I feel as if this [has] made me a better advocate for engineering education and a better teacher.”
If you are interested in a professional development opportunity for your school or district please contact your local EiE Representative or request a custom quote for a professional development opportunity on our website.