District Administration July 2018 - 61

School/Business/Community
Partnership That Truly
Benefits Kids
Fond du Lac School District
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
CHALLENGE: The Fond du
Lac School District did not
have any schools dedicated
to encouraging girls to
explore careers in STEMrelated fields.
INITIATIVE: The Fond du
Lac STEM Academy and
STEM Institute have come
about thanks to community
partnerships, particularly
with Mercury Marine, an
international corporation
headquartered in the community. The STEM Academy (grades 3 through 5)
opened in 2012, while the
STEM Institute (grades 6
through 8) launched the

year after. Both nonprofit
charter schools employ project-based learning. Students
also participate in events
such as design challenges,
where they develop solutions
to community problems
that have been submitted by
business partners.
IMPACT: Since inception,
both the academy and
institute have exceeded
expectations or significantly
exceeded expectations on
Wisconsin school report
cards. Driven by student
interest, the program is
expanding to the high
school. "That demand out-

DEVELOPING STEM PROFESSIONALS-To build enthusiasm
for STEM careers, the Fond du Lac School District has
reached out to local STEM-related businesses to provide
professional guidance and support for students.

lines the interest and excitement that exists in our community and surrounding
communities for a projectbased learning experience,"
says Superintendent James
Sebert.

control of the traditional
model of school. Professional development focused
on project-based learning is
necessary if teachers are not
already familiar with that
instruction style.

ADVICE: Open yourself to
the community and release

Vision in Action

Plainville Community School District
Plainville, Connecticut
CHALLENGE: Students have a responsibility to positively
impact global society. Educators must therefore provide
authentic and innovative learning experiences that engage
students and that promote success in a technology-driven
world.
INITIATIVE: Students begin coding circuits and producing stop-motion videos in elementary school makerspaces.
They progress into a middle school STEAM lab, where
they experiment with robotics, 3D design and music production. In high school, students solve real-life problems
such as refurbishing bicycles for a community give-back
program. "Students are equipped with the critical, cuttingedge skills and experiences that enable them to transition
successfully into secondary education and the 21st century
job market," says Superintendent Maureen Brummett.

www.DistrictAdministration.com

IMPACT: Since the STEM lab opened in 2014, the number of students pursuing STEM careers has doubled. The
district also has saved thousands of dollars, as students
have produced replacement parts for HVAC and lighting systems. The community also has benefitted from the
program-middle and high school students in the "Go
Baby Go" built toy vehicles for local toddlers in special
education.
ADVICE: Follow a professional learning community
model to give teachers time to collaborate and share
innovative instructional ideas. Linking these initiatives
to the district's strategic plan should earn full support
from stakeholders. Actively seek grants and other funding
sources to further enhance programs.

July 2018 61


http://www.DistrictAdministration.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration July 2018

District Administration July 2018 - 1
District Administration July 2018 - Cover1
District Administration July 2018 - Cover2
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