Teachers Reach Across Their Schools To Enrich Student Learning

Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Educators play the role of students during a hands-on learning activity at Monday's CTE-STEM Collaborative Workshop for regional teachers
Educators play the role of students during a hands-on learning activity at Monday's CTE-STEM Collaborative Workshop for regional teachers
The region’s progress in bringing real-world learning activities into the classroom was evident on Monday when teachers from Hamilton, McMinn, Bradley and Marion counties convened for a new training focused on collaboration across subject areas. The workshop held in downtown Chattanooga and sponsored by the Southeast Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub convened educators in science, mathematics and Career & Technical Education. 

This groundbreaking training gained attention from state-level leaders in education due to its unique approach to connecting teachers. “I think this CTE-STEM training is a model that should be shared across the state,” said Bethany Wilkes from the Tennessee Department of Education. “Bridging the strengths of these diverse courses together better prepares our students for college and careers.”  

CTE, sometimes referred to as vocational education, may bring to mind a high school auto shop class. In reality, today’s Career & Technical Education department offers programs in high-demand workforce areas such as Engineering, Biotechnology, and Software Development. CTE also has a long history of providing students with hands-on activities which incorporate local business partnerships into the learning process.   

Monday’s workshop brought together CTE instructors and teachers of science and math courses to create new projects for students. Teams of at least two teachers from a school attended the event where they collaboratively designed new projects connecting multiple courses. Testing the ionic bonding of fertilizer for Agriculture and Chemistry students, designing wheelchair accessible ramps in Construction and Geometry classes, and creating mechanical games for Physics and Engineering students were just a few of the lessons the teachers began developing during the session.  

Leaders at the STEM Innovation Hub believe bringing CTE and regular education teachers together gives students the best of both worlds. “Pairing the rigorous coursework of academic subjects with the hands-on, career-oriented projects found in CTE helps students apply complex concepts and deepen their understanding of the material,” said Keri Randolph, director of Learning at the STEM Hub.  

The organization also notes the valuable community connections these projects can provide to schools. “Hands-on projects give schools an opportunity to approach a local business and ask for expertise,” said Tracey Carisch, managing director of the STEM Hub. “In making a small request of a professional’s time, teachers can connect the students to career options as well as open the door to future partnerships with business and industry.” 

Teachers at the workshop will return to their schools with new connections to colleagues and expanded ideas for hands-on learning activities. “I love this connection to CTE,” said Barbie Buckner, a science teacher at Bradley Central High School. “It brings in the practical application of the concepts I teach and lets the kids see where science meets their life.”  

To learn more about the Southeast Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub and its programs, visit www.GoGetSTEM.org.                     


Educators share their ideas for hands-on learning during Monday's CTE-STEM Collaborative workshop
Educators share their ideas for hands-on learning during Monday's CTE-STEM Collaborative workshop

Cleveland State Recognizes Tennessee Promise/Tennessee Reconnect Students With Special Welcome Week Celebration

Cleveland State Community College officials say they will offer a “sunny” welcome to both new and returning Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect students arriving on campus this week with a special celebration on Thursday during the college’s Convocation at 12:30 p.m. the L. Quentin Lane Gymnasium.  Under the theme “My Future’s So Bright,” Tennessee Promise and Reconnect ... (click for more)

The Charles Foundation Announces Scholarship Recipients At UTC

The Mario C. and Grace B. Charles Foundation Scholarships are awarded annually to students in two different categories: engineering and education, in honor and memory of husband and wife  Mario C. Charles, formerly an engineer with TVA, and Grace B. Charles, formerly a teacher in the Chattanooga public school system.  John R. Burhman, treasurer and member of the board ... (click for more)

Federal Judge Orders Walker County To Pay Erlanger $8,705,000, Plus Interest; Question Of Attorney Fees And Expenses To Go To Jury

Federal Judge Harold Murphy, in a 63-page ruling handed down Tuesday, ordered Walker County, Ga., to pay the Erlanger Health System $8,705,000, plus interest, on the Hutcheson Hospital debt. Judge Murphy, of Rome, Ga., said the question of attorney fees and expenses owed Erlanger by Walker County should be decided by a jury trial. Walker County and Catoosa County earlier agreed ... (click for more)

Pinkston Says Offer Was Made To Dismiss Lawsuit Against Him If Prosecution Of Detective Burns Was Dropped; Judge Greenholtz "Greatly Bothered" By Any Such Offer

District Attorney Neal Pinkston said at a hearing Tuesday that an offer was made to drop a lawsuit filed against him by Gatlinburg detective Rodney Burns if he would dismiss two perjury counts against Burns. The district attorney said he should not be disqualified from continuing to prosecute the case or else attorneys would begin suing him or the judge to get a new DA or trial ... (click for more)

Problems With The Proposed Apartments In Lookout Valley

I am deeply troubled at the way in which this proposal has been handled. The blatant disregard for the residents of Kelly's Ferry Road and the wishes of the Lookout Valley Area Plan (which was adopted by the city in 2003) by Chip Henderson and Tommy Austin amazes me. Yes, there was a meeting of the Lookout Valley Neighborhood association in August, but it wasn't on its normal ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Ooltewah & The Bullies

During the week of Christmas I got an email from a longtime friend at the Knoxville News-Sentinel that laughingly wondered what kind of basketball do you people play (in Chattanooga?) It included sketchy details of the rape, and subsequent surgery, of an Ooltewah High School basketball player who had been assaulted by his own teammates at a Gatlinburg holiday tournament. Today ... (click for more)