GLENWOOD | Brookwood School District 167 students may soon be using problem-based learning to do things like build robots and design homes.
The district plans to work with an Indianapolis-based company called Project Lead the Way to develop a STEM —Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — program in its schools.
"We're going to be very excited to bring this particular signature program to our school district's kids," Superintendent Valorie Moore said. "Everything that you can imagine that is 21st century, that is basically what will take place with the STEM program."
Moore said the plan is to start the program at Brookwood Middle School first, with all schools eventually taking part. The district has set aside $50,000 in Title I grant funds and will look for additional grant money to fund the project in the future. No official timetable has been set.
Project Lead the Way will help train teachers, set up a classroom for the program and purchase necessary books and equipment, Moore said. A current classroom will be converted into a STEM classroom.
Students in the program will use innovative technology, including iPads, Moore said. District 167 is already working on a "one-to-one" iPad initiative to give students devices that could be used with the STEM project.
Assistant Superintendent Rene Santiago gave a presentation outlining Project Lead the Way at Tuesday's board meeting.
"It's a hands-on program designed to challenge students," Santiago said. "We want kids to learn real-world skills before they leave school and go on to college and go on to careers."
A middle school teacher will be chosen to teach the STEM class after spending a week in training. Moore said a math or science teacher would likely be picked.
"(The teacher) will have to be passionate about this," Moore said. "We will work with them on the technology side."
Board member Melinda Plott said Moore was chosen as the district's new superintendent in the spring in part because of the STEM work she did in the past with Lindop School District 92 in Broadview, Ill. Students from District 92 were selected by the state Legislature to travel to different areas presenting the work they did in the STEM program.
"The same can be duplicated here," Moore said.