As a nation, a state, and as a community, we need to find ways to develop skills and competencies in our students that will equip them for their futures in a global, connected and ever-changing environment. Beyond learning specific content in their coursework, students of today must master the "21st Century" skills required by most employers and universities.
Learning and innovation skills (a primary outcome of an engaging STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Math] curriculum) are what separate students who are prepared for increasingly complex life and work environments in today’s world and those who are not.
- Creativity and Innovation
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
- Communication and Collaboration
- Information, Media and Technology Skills
In Wisconsin, there is a concerning trend that our best and brightest graduates are going to college and then seeking to work in STEM fields OUTSIDE of Wisconsin. Consequently, there is a considerable movement in Southeastern Wisconsin to make our region at STEM hub in the country.
Many surrounding districts have made considerable progress in developing and offering STEM-related educational offerings for their students. Like Elmbrook, many have implemented elective Project Lead the Way offerings at the High School level with great success!
The Gateway to Technology program is the next step in developing a robust STEM curriculum. It has the benefit of touching all students in that it is woven into core curriculum at the Middle School level. Foundation Units include:
- Automation and Robotics
- Design and Modeling
Specialization Units can be made available as elective offerings to further enrich and extend for those with a particular aptitude or interest in STEM topics. For example,
- Energy and the Environment
- Flight and Space
- Green Architecture
- Magic of Electrons
- Science of Technology
The following districts are among those in the area that have already implemented the Gateway to Technology program:
- Waukesha, Waukesha STEM Academy
- Kettle Moraine
- New Berlin
Elmbrook students achieve at very high levels. This is illustrated by the outstanding test results our students receive on large-scale measures such as the ACT. However, when we examine how many students who take the ACT score at a level that demonstrates college readiness in the area of science (Biology), only 60% met the college readiness benchmark in 2012.
In addition, there is a significant underrepresentation of female students seeking STEM-related college degrees and entering STEM-related professional fields. Exposing all students to Gateway to Technology Curricula at the middle school level, perhaps the most formative time in a student's life, will increase the likelihood of our district encouraging more students, and particularly more female students, into STEM-related coursework in high school and beyond. As a result of implementing GTT, Elmbrook hopes to see a 50% participation rate in GTT Specialization units, a 20% increase in Project Lead the Way enrollment at the High School, and an increase in post-secondary enrollment in the STEM field.
Elmbrook has a sincere desire to cultivate a climate of innovation and is working to broaden horizons when we define or think about the many pathways to excellence that are possible for our students. Implementing the Gateway to Technology STEM curriculum is a great way to continue to sustain the excellence of our Elmbrook Schools!
This program would not be made available without EEF support. The estimated project cost is $156,000. We would love to see GTT in Elmbrook as early as the 2013-14 school year; however, the Foundation will require support from the Elmbrook community in order to make this program a reality.
- BrookfieldNOW coverage on GTT Campaign
- Project Lead the Way
- Gateway to Technology
- STEM Forward of Southeastern Wisconsin