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

Graves Installed As 7th GPS Head

"My name is Autumn Joy Adkins Graves, and I am the seventh head of Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and I proudly proclaim – I will lead like a girl!"  With those words at the conclusion of her installation as GPS’s Head of School, the audience of friends, family, faculty, trustees, parents, alumnae, and students rose to their feet and offered their heartfelt ... (click for more)

Dalton State Magazine: A Glimpse Into Campus Life

Jacob Southern turned to two things to help him cope with struggles growing up: fishing and God. After becoming a student at Dalton State, he added conservation biology to that list.    Set to graduate in December, mr. Southern is making great strides in undergraduate research, all while finding himself as a young adult. His story is told in the latest edition of the ... (click for more)

Plan Revived For 5-Story Boutique Hotel Next To The Walnut Street Bridge

Plans have been revived for a five-story boutique hotel next to the Walnut Street Bridge. Vision Hospitality Group said the yet-to-be named hotel will provide 90 rooms featuring high-end amenities and exemplary service in the city's art district. Plans for a similar hotel were announced in 2012, but the proposal was later withdrawn. The hotel is slated for 102 Walnut ... (click for more)

Grand Jury Says County Needs To Start "Immediately" On Funding A New County Jail

Members of the Hamilton County Grand Jury said in a final report that the county needs to start "immediately" on funding a replacement for the Hamilton County Jail. The report, read by Foreman Robert Smith, says, "The Jail is near and/or over capacity and understaffed!  Hard-working corrections officers are in constant danger.  Being responsible for 80-100 inmates per ... (click for more)

Better Plan For Walnut Street Hotel

Mitch Patel and his Vision Hospitality Group have unveiled a revised plan for a hotel on Walnut Street. It is much better than the one proposed two years ago. By having no curb cuts on Walnut Street, it makes that special block near the bridge more inviting and safer for pedestrians. Deliveries would be off Riverfront Parkway and hotel access (valet parking) would be off Aquarium ... (click for more)

Thanks For Making The Southern Brewers Festival A Success

Now that the dust has settled I'd like to thank Chattanooga for supporting the Southern Brewers Festival and making it yet another very successful event.    For those who do not know - the SBF benefits the Chattanooga chapter of Kids on the Block and the Chattanooga Community Kitchen.  As a partner helping the SBF with volunteers, sponsorships and the overall production ... (click for more)