Oak Ridge Schools STEM Committee

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 is 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

STEM Committee Logistics:
The STEM Committee will meet four times a year from 4-5pm. Because of local concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic, these meetings will be held virtually through Microsoft Teams until the time comes when it is safe to hold large gatherings.

Dates of Committee Meetings for 2021-2022:
• Friday, July 23 (first ORS Advisory Board meeting of the year)
• Monday, November 15
• Tuesday, January 18
• Monday, April 11

If you would like to become a member of the ORS STEM Committee, please fill out the following short survey: https://forms.office.com/r/7qYJxhSewQ.

You will not receive a Microsoft Teams link without filling out the survey and providing your email.

Kathy Foust, ORS STEM Coordinator, will create the agendas, send out reminders and Teams links, be the contact person for the committee, and will create and maintain the STEM Committee website. If you have any questions or would like to add an item to the agenda/website, contact her at kjfoust@ortn.edu or 865-425-9055.