Student learning in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is growing in Clintonville due to the efforts of teachers like seventh grade science instructor Greg Rose.
Rose spoke to the school board on Monday, March 24, to explain what STEM concepts are and how they are benefitting students in Clintonville.
“STEM grew out of the response from employers and government officials who recognized that there needed to be more highly skilled workers,” said Rose. “STEM was seen as part of a greater solution to the economic downturn by preparing students better in giving them critical thinking and other ‘21st century’ skills to help land high demand jobs.
“We have always been teaching these subjects, just not assembled together in such a way,” said Rose. “The first notable STEM-related action was not in the classroom, but in an after school project. A group of seventh grade boys competed in the eCYBERMISSION competition, which is STEM-related, and took it to nationals. The group was awarded a grant from the Clintonville Community Foundation, which opened the door for the district to set up a STEM student activities account.
“Currently, I teach a 7.5 week STEM course to seventh graders,” continued Rose. “Students rotate through a variety of short form classes and this is the first year that STEM has become part of that rotation.”
Rose said STEM incorporates project-based learning by presenting problems that students need to find a solution for through collaboration and construction.
“We are working toward instilling problem solving skills and developing perseverance among students,” said Rose.
In November, Rose took a group of seventh graders to a boys conference during STEM Career Day at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Rose and Cassy Engelhardt took a group of girls to their conference in February.
“I continue to collaborate with Rick Recktenwald at Walker Forge and Tim Ewing at Navarino Nature Center (NNC),” said Rose.
Students learned about the alternative energy of photovoltaic cells and geothermal systems, as well as green building technology during their visit to NNC. Students traveled to Walker Forge on April 1 to tour the facility with a focus on their engineering and robotic systems they have in place.
“The science department has begun collaborating with the tech ed department,” added Rose. “Shawn Howe, Ben Smejkal and I met with tech ed teachers last Friday to discuss this process. I’m getting the ball rolling on writing a STEM grant through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. The grant will allow us to afford a great computer program that will integrate perfectly with the new Chromebooks. Amy Bindas is on board and assisting in the grant.
“I’m co-teaching the STEM Summer Academy over the ERVING network with other area teachers,” stated Rose. “The class is open to students entering grades 6 through 9. Projects will be taught by the lead teacher and facilitated by others. Student will have a field trip to NTC in Wausau where they will meet their classmates from other school districts and tour the college. Using the network, students will tap into live interviews and lessons from professionals throughout the country.
“Next year I’m planning to continue the STEM rotation in seventh grade and continue to write grants,” concluded Rose. “I’m also looking into establishing a STEM Club that would be open to any student in grades 7-12. At the science teacher convention I networked with teachers doing this as well as Science Olympiad. The club could collaborate with area employers in ways more versatile than a class.”
The board thanked Rose for his presentation before moving on to other business.
2013-14 Fund Balance Goals
A list of Fund Balance goals—in no particular order—was presented to the board. These are the items that the district has committed to be spent out of fund balance in the 2013-2014 fiscal year. There are other items that are on the list that have been addressed with the board for possible future expenses and at this time have not committed to be spent, so there is not a dollar amount associated at this time.The list included the following items:
• Maintenance Truck ($29,836)
• Plow ($3,990)
• 50 percent toward shared passenger van—other 50 percent through Pupil Services funds ($9,712)
• Walkie-talkies for administration, custodial, outdoor staff ($16,788)
• Upgrade district wide phone system (no cost listed)
• Technology—tablets/computer carts/labs, 130 Samsung Chromebooks ($35,880)
• Building maintenance projects—HVAC, windows, roof (no cost listed)
• Main Street road project—corner of Green Tree/Hwy. 156/Main St. (no cost listed)
• High school boiler ($12,250)
• Balance on track from 13-14 budget ($62,208)
• True Time software and STAi terminals ($24,304)
• Middle school roof ($52,200)
• TOTAL ($247,168)
The board was informed of a carryover budget amount of $107,149. The total fund expenses plus carryover budget was listed at $354,317.
As of June 30, 2014, the Fund Balance is projected to be $4,844,588. Subtracting the total fund expenses plus carryover budget brings the projected revised Fund Balance to $4,490,271. That amount, divided by the district’s current budget—assuming the district spends all of these expenses and receives all the budgeted revenue—equals a 29 percent Fund Balance, which is well above the range set by board policy.
The board unanimously approved a roof replacement/repair bid for portions of the middle school roof. The work will be done in summer of this year, and the cost of the project will come from the Fund Balance.