What is STEM Education in Oak Ridge Schools?

When most people first hear the word STEM, they immediately think of the acronym: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  And while Oak Ridge Schools provides numerous opportunities for students to experience STEM-specific content in Elementary, Middle, and High School, true STEM Education teaches a set of behaviors and skills that students need to be successful in the 21st century workforce. There are many skills and behaviors associated with STEM, however, the four most commonly discussed in our district are the 4C’s: Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity (creative problem-solving).

Every teacher in Oak Ridge Schools is a STEM teacher and every class a student takes from preschool through 12th grade will provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice STEM.  STEM Education would not be complete without real-world connections to curriculum and problem and project-based learning opportunities. We want our students to be able to answer questions that don’t have an obvious answer, create solutions to relevant problems, successfully work with peers and community members to find answers, and be able to effectively communicate their findings. STEM is one of the powerful tools to help every student be prepared for college, career, and life success.

What is the purpose of the ORS STEM Committee?

The purpose of the STEM Committee is two-fold:  parents and community members learn about what STEM opportunities are occurring in our schools and how they can support that work, as well as how Oak Ridge Schools can support our community and businesses through STEM Education.  Because STEM Education and CCTE are closely linked, this committee will take the place of the ORS Advisory Board so that our members’ time will not be overly taxed. Dr. Holly Cross will continue to play a crucial role in this committee.

Possible Discussion points:

  • School STEM Needs (ex: content experts, volunteers, etc.)
  • District STEM Initiatives
  • STEM Certification/Recertification
  • Available internships and grants
  • STEM skills and behaviors needed for jobs in community in addition to the 4Cs

Quarterly Meeting Dates for 22-23 School Year:

  • Monday, August 8
  • Tuesday, November 1
  • Monday, January 23
  • Tuesday, April 11

Want to join the ORS STEM Committee?

If you are an interested staff member, parent, or community partner, please fill out a short survey using this link to join. You will then be sent calendar invites and be added to our Microsoft Teams page.