Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna will address nearly 120 Idaho educators are participating in the first Idaho Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (i-STEM) institutes at the College of Southern Idaho campus this week.
The four-day, all expense-paid workshops, will allow teachers the opportunity to explore research-based practices and cross-curricular applications along with specific STEM content. Sessions will also be focusing on astronomy, energy, and applied mathematics and science.
The academies are part of the Idaho STEM initiative (i-STEM), an extensive partnership of educators, government and businesses working to improve science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in Idaho.
PCS Edventures, Boise State University, the Jason Project, College of Southern Idaho and teachers from Shelley and Idaho Falls will be directing the hands-on activities throughout the week.
An additional i-STEM workshop is taking place at North Idaho College this week as well.
Since taking office in 2007, Superintendent Luna has strived to improve STEM education for all students.
He secured funding for and implemented the Idaho Math Initiative in 2008 to raise student achievement in math across all grades. Now, Idaho students rank among the highest in the nation in mathematics.
In addition, Superintendent Luna has worked closely with former astronaut and Boise State Distinguished Educator in Residence Barbara Morgan to create the Idaho Science and Aerospace Academy for high school juniors.
The Idaho Science and Aerospace Academy is a competitive program that challenges Idaho high school juniors to take an engaging online course developed by NASA during the school year and compete to attend a residential Summer Academy where they work on projects with scientists and engineers from NASA and across Idaho.
More than 70 students participated in the first year. With the support of a $1.2 million grant from NASA, Idaho will expand this grant to reach 400 students over the next two years.
~ Eva C.