Learn how innovative leaders develop STEM/STEAM schools

Are you thinking about converting your school to a STEM/STEAM curriculum? Are you unsure how to start? Then consider participating in the Battelle’s Innovative Leaders Institute (ILI) through the Ohio STEM Learning Network. ILI is a five-day program (one day is virtual) spread over 12 months that pairs experienced school principals with other principals or lead-teachers who wish to implement innovative strategies in your school and/or become a STEM school.

The curriculum focuses on leadership, instruction, and culture/climate. Participants engage in structured learning activities on topics such as adaptive and distributive leadership, problem-based learning, meaningful professional development, marketing and partnerships. Each in-person session includes a tour of an innovative school plus a discussion with the school’s leaders.

Applications for the 2020-2021 cohort are now open. Apply here or using the form below by March 3, 2020. Battelle’s website offers more information including an overview, what you will learn, and session dates.

The 2019-2020 ILI cohort includes Jessica Moore, principal of Etna Road Elementary School in the Whitehall City Schools in Franklin County. We asked her to share a bit about herself, her school and her impressions of ILI so far:

Q: Tell us about your school and your role there.

A: Etna Road Elementary is home to 530 students. We are located in central Ohio directly south of the John Glenn Columbus International Airport. As part of Whitehall City Schools, our mission is to create success through personalized learning for every student, every day. I currently serve as principal, and this is my fourth year at Etna Road.

Q: How did you hear about the Innovative Leaders Institute, and why did you decide to attend? What did you hope to learn?

A: I heard about ILI through the Ohio Department of Education and its weekly email blasts. I decided to apply and attend based on my research into the program and the high praise the program received from past attendees. I am also very intrigued by bringing more STEM/STEAM opportunities to Etna Road. I hoped to learn more about STEM/STEAM and ways to begin incorporating the learning throughout our building. I wanted ways to start small.

Q: How would you describe your ILI cohort?

A: Our ILI cohort is made up of individuals from throughout the state. Most teams in attendance are composed of a building leader and teacher leader. In our two in-person meetings thus far, the sessions have been well attended, and there have been opportunities for us to interact and share with other teams. The group has worked well together when we have had tasks to complete. The days have been pretty jammed full with school tours and learning, so our time has flown by when we are together.

Q: What was your favorite or most valuable part of the experience? Is there something that you learned that you have already implemented at your school?

A: The most valuable part of the experience for me has been working and brainstorming with Jamie Snodgrass, the teacher leader from my building. As we have learned and observed in different environments, it has been great to talk with her and pick her brain about what we are doing in our building and ways to make us better. Some ideas that I have, or the ways I look at things, are very different from hers, so it is great to take a step back and make sure I am empowering her and the rest of my team to think out of the box to put some of these project-based learning and STEM activities into action.


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