Wilemon STEAM Academy is the third campus in the nation to have all instructional teachers certified by the National Institute for STEM Education.

"We wanted to ensure we had a strong foundation of knowledge in what STEM learning is and how to create that environment for our students," said Melissa Abadie, Elementary Science and STEM Coordinator. "We wanted to set the campus apart as a unique opportunity for our community."

NISE is a nationally recognized program and was perceived to be the most suitable for teachers and students.

A total of 29 employees earned the certification and included all classroom teachers, specials teachers, administrators, and the librarian.

The NISE program also enabled teachers to flourish and grow, due to its self-reflective process.

Teachers completed the online certification process by completing individual submissions across 15 STEM indicators that were compiled to develop their portfolio.

The training began in June of 2018 and concluded in April. The certification process and professional development this year included approximately 100 hours per teacher.

A celebration for the hard work took place Friday in the Wilemon gym where a banner was presented. A handful of students also gave their perspective on the STEAM education setting.

Fifth-grade student, Kaleb Hawkins, said his favorite aspect of the school is the makerspaces because they have made learning fun.

"This year I used the KEVA planks in the Design Den to build a structure and wrote a procedural text on how to build my structure," Hawkins elaborated. "I also used the Playstix in the Tinker Studio to build a 3D figure and find its volume."

Another fifth-grade student, Drew Kahlden, said he and his peers think like engineers and use the engineering design process to solve problems

"For example, during March Madness we learned about forces and motion. I used Cosmo from the REC room to shoot a mini basketball into a hoop! That demonstrated force because Cosmo used force to push the basketball into the hoop."

Fourth-grade student, JD Delay, said his favorite project this year was the "adaptation creature."

"At Wilemon, our imaginations are only the beginning," Delay emphasized.

Third-grade student Maricruz Cornejo loves making videos and was able to create them using a green screen and an app on the iPad.

"There are endless ways we can use technology," he said.

Kindergarten student, Olive Doughtery said he favorite time spent at Wilemon was on field day because she learned to fly a kite.

"It was my very first time, and it was awesome," Doughtery expressed.

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450