Network: Science Foundation of Arizona and the AZ STEM Network

Purpose: Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) and the AZ STEM Network created both the STEM Immersion Guide and the follow up STEM Implementation Guides.

The STEM Immersion Guide was created as a tool to help educators establish and implement a vision for 21st century schools and classrooms in Arizona. It is written as an over-arching framework to help chart a course for integrating STEM education in Arizona schools and districts. The STEM Immersion Guide contains key design elements that support project-based, interdisciplinary STEM instruction by providing practical tools and information to enable teachers, schools and districts, and administrators that want to improve student outcomes by integrating STEM. The Guide contains four levels (or models) of immersion, from Exploratory, Introductory, Partial Immersion, and Full Immersion. Listed under each of these models are key design considerations specific to six targeted categories: Leading, Teaching, Learning, Evaluating, Budgeting, and Sustaining.

The STEM Implementation Guides are a compilation of four downloadable guides and four explanatory videos that help schools/districts work through the process of STEM integration/immersion based on the STEM Immersion Guide (detailed above). The four Implementation Guides are a “how-to checklist” for implementing the four models of STEM programs found within the STEM Immersion Guide. The guides provide schools with a timeline for planning, implementing and facilitating a STEM program from the Exploratory Model up through the Full Immersion Model. The guides’ checklists are an organizational tool to drive program development. The guides will also provide the processes used to gather qualitative and quantitative data elements and observations necessary to evaluate effective STEM schools/programs.

Usage: The guides are being used extensively by Science Foundation Arizona and Maricopa County Education Service Agency. The Implementation Guide has been used along with the STEM Immersion Guide in a variety of states including Arizona, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Indiana. For an example, see: http://www.doe.in.gov/ccr/indiana-stem-education-science-technology-engineering-and-mathematics

Impacts: This information has been used and validated through the Helios STEM School Pilot Program. See: https://stem.sfaz.org/page/heliosjourney.

Prior research or grounding: The AzSTEM Network “STEM Immersion Guide” and “STEM Implementation Guides” are a compilation of processes and strategies from current STEM schools located throughout the state of Arizona. In addition, the guides are based on research from the National Research Council and STEM education tools from multiple STEMx partners (e.g., Ohio STEM Learning Network, North Carolina STEM Center). Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) staff and the Maricopa County Education Service Agency (MCESA) conducted original process interviews. After the initial Guides were developed two “vetting” workshops were conducted and led to revisions of the guides. The guides have continued to be revised based on user feedback and additional research.

Contact: Linda Coyle, Science Foundation of Arizona, lcoyle@sfaz.org, (602) 616-3652