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In December 2015, The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was passed as the successor to the No Child Left Behind Act.  Stakeholders around the state are in conversations about how our state might prepare teachers and school leaders to meet the goals of ensuring every student meets South Carolina Career and College Readiness Standards and that each demonstrates the knowledge, skills and life/career characteristics identified in the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate .  Having some basic knowledge of ESSA is helpful as you navigate conversations in your local schools and districts regarding upcoming STEM initiatives and funding options.

Pivotal Changes
Arguably, the most pivotal change in the new legislation is the shift in decision-making and funding.  With ESSA, control over how funds and decisions are made move from a federal to a state and local level.  Districts and schools have increased flexibility on how funds are utilized for professional development, preparing students for college and careers, as well how to utilize funds for providing all students access to a well-rounded education including STEM and the arts initiatives.

Title II and Title IV Part A funding could open new opportunities for STEM initiatives.  For example:

STEM Directed Professional Development and STEM Master Teacher Corps
Under ESSA, Title II, funding can be used for training and preparing teachers, principals, and other school leaders in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and computer science, as well as establishing a state-wide STEM Master Teacher Corps. During September’s Next Step’s Institute in Charleston, one attendee, Dr. Glenda Westbury of Orangeburg Consolidated School District Four, spoke to how South Carolina needs to consider a math and science instructional coach program, similar to what the state had previously, as part of a STEM Master Teacher Corps. Dr. Westbury stated, “District STEM Master Teachers in schools can impact instruction on a day-to-day and week-to week-basis.”

Expanded STEM Enriched Programs and Initiatives
Under ESSA, Title IV, Part A, funding can be used for providing students access to a well-rounded education, improve conditions for learning, and improve the use of technology through the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) program.  Recently, the US Department of Education published a report providing non-regulatory guidance on how the SSAE funds might be appropriated including:
  • Expand high quality STEM courses
  • Increase access to STEM for underserved and at risk student populations
  • Support student participation in STEM nonprofit competitions
  • Provide hands on learning opportunities in STEM
  • Integrate other academic subjects, including the arts, into STEM subject programs
  • Integrate classroom based and afterschool and informal STEM instruction
  • Expand environmental education
  • Build infrastructure through software and/or equipment
South Carolina ESSA Consolidated State Plan
Each state is responsible for submitting a plan for ESSA funding.  You can review South Carolina’s Consolidated State Plan on the SC State Department of Education’s Every Student Succeeds Act website.  A timeline for implementation of the guidelines for ESSA is included.  As part of the development of accountability plans for ESSA, states and districts “MUST engage a broad range of stakeholders”. It is crucial for educators to share their expertise in shaping the state’s policy that will affect teachers, school leaders, and especially students. SC stakeholders are invited to provide their input via a survey before the plan is submitted to the U.S. Department of Education.

S2TEM Centers SC will continue providing information on ESSA via Twitter and Facebook.  You can also contact your Regional S2TEM Center office for additional information and resources.
Professional Development Opportunities

10 Session STEM Instructional Leadership Training
Currently accepting new teams to participate in iSTEM:  an in-depth, 10-day, instructional leadership experience for STEM educators preparing to understand and implement engineering practices as identified in the South Carolina Curriculum Standards and national standards documents. 


Visit STEM Linx to learn about more STEM events and opportunities around the state.

2016 Bebras Challenge
November 7 - 18
Register Online

Introduce computational thinking to students!  This one-hour free challenge is offered in 5 different divisions spanning grades 3-12.  Your students will solve 15 tasks online that showcase “computational thinking” and how it can be used in many walks of life. It is a wonderful opportunity that can help students to discover their aptitude for computational thinking and possibly spark their interest in further studies in computing and STEM.  For more information.

SC 4-H Engineering Challenge, sponsored by EnlightenSC
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College

An opportunity for students ages 9-19 to learn, have fun, demonstrate the science, technology, engineering, and math skills, and compete for individual and team honors. A STEM Fair will be set up during the event to provide hands-on STEM activities for participants and their families.  More info.

Field trips at Clemson University Life Sciences Outreach Center
The Clemson University Life Sciences Outreach Center offers laboratory field trips in modern genetics and biotechnology to school groups in our labs on the beautiful Clemson campus. Students will use modern technology to generate and analyze results and to learn key concepts. Students will also be introduced to relevant career pathways. View a list of labs and for information on bringing CULSOC labs to your school.
Self-Paced Disciplinary Literacy Learning Modules

Want to learn more about disciplinary literacy?  Explore the free self-paced learning modules found in the S2TEM Centers SC Disciplinary Literacy Virtual Library. Each topic below provides 5-6 lessons on the identified topic for educators wishing to increase their understanding of disciplinary literacy at their own pace.
Topics include:
For more, visit the S2TEM Centers SC Disciplinary Literacy Virtual Library.

What S2TEM Centers SC clients say about their Professional Learning Experience...

" This experience allowed me multiple ways to see how to implement STEM ideas in my classroom.  The connection to business throughout was a way for me to see how to make my teaching more relevant to my students.  I want my students to be engaged with a better understanding of why they are learning what they are."
Cindy Bradley, Teacher
Saluda Trail Middle School, Rock Hill School District York #3
iSTEM Instructional Leadership Program
"My professional goals of adding more STEM curriculum into my math classroom was enhanced and refueled through this training.  I will definitely include the strategies and procedure learning in my math classes.  I truly enjoyed the hands-on learning and the interesting activities that were done."
Aretha Smith, Teacher
Ebenezer Middle, Sumter School District
Noyce Fellows
"It gave me ideas to use with my own students. I really like the idea of using leveled informational texts as support."
Amanda Smathers, Teacher
Gadsden Elementary, Richland School District 1
Engaging Literacy Strategies in Science

Copyright © 2016 South Carolina's Coalition for Mathematics & Science at Clemson University, All rights reserved.

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