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

Chattanooga State's May Nursing And Allied Health Information Sessions

The Nursing & Allied Health Division at Chattanooga State offers monthly information sessions for students interested in health care professions. Most sessions last one hour and are not mandatory, but strongly recommended. The following programs do require mandatory attendance: Radiologic Technology, EMS, Health Information Management and Dental Assisting.  Program ... (click for more)

PEF's Stacy Lightfoot To Speak To U.S. Senate Panel On Wednesday

PEF's Vice President of College and Career Success Stacy Lightfoot will testify before a U.S. Senate congressional panel on Wednesday , at  10 a.m.  in Washington, D.C. She will talk about what kind of guidance and support low income and first-generation college students need to successfully complete a college degree. Officials said, "Stacy has helped ... (click for more)

Corker, Alexander Say Budget Bill Is A Start, But Much Left To Do

Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander said the budget bill passed Tuesday was a first step, but much more work remains on balancing the federal budget. Senator Corker said,  “Left to my own accord this budget would look far different, but at the end of the day I believe it’s important for Congress to complete this basic tenet of governing and set the stage for a responsible ... (click for more)

Ringgold Woman Killed In Foley, Ala., Wreck

A Ringgold woman died from injuries she sustained in a two-car wreck at Foley, Ala., on Friday night, and several others from Chattanooga were injured. The victim was Sharen Mueller Shields, 56, a TVA employee for the last 35 years serving in the purchasing and transportation departments. The accident happened on U.S. 98 outside the grounds of a hot air balloon festival. ... (click for more)

Dr. King Wouldn't Approve Of The Mayhem In Baltimore

I am mostly certain that Dr. King never meant for this kind of violence to happen.  I don't recall any of the protests he led not being peaceful.  He would most definitely not approve of people burning, looting, the complete and utter unnecessary mayhem, or anything like what happened in Baltimore. Do you really believe Dr. King would condone 8, 10, 12-year-old children ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why The Lynching Stopped

Over the weekend I became fascinated by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, and yesterday I devoted my Monday opinion piece to the fact this black man, who for 25 years was a cop in Milwaukee and who is now in his fourth term as the sheriff, believes the arrest of six Baltimore police is “a miscarriage of justice.” The more I read and researched Sheriff Clarke, the more I ... (click for more)