STANTON — A program being brought to the area through a collaboration has hopes of inspiring middle-school students to stay engaged in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
The Montcalm Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) has worked with the Ionia County Intermediate School District (ICISD) to host a STEM camp for local sixth-graders.
According to MAISD Associate Superintendent of Instructional Services Michelle Goodwin, it is in middle school, and typically with girls, where students decide whether or not to embrace science and math.
“Sometimes peer pressure takes over and girls lose focus on STEM,” Goodwin said. “We want to reverse this trend and show students how exciting science, technology, engineering and mathematics can be. This is where the well-paying jobs are, and there is no reason our students in Montcalm and Ionia counties shouldn’t have access to them.
STEM camp will be three days a week for four weeks in June at the HO Steele Education Center. It is funded by the DTE Foundation and supported by Central Michigan University (CMU).
“Partnering with CMU brings experts in STEM fields to our door steps,” Goodwin said. “It is wonderful to be able to show our students the possibilities STEM offers including what it looks like to work at the college level.”
ICISD Director of Grants and Special Projects Deborah Wagner said the ISD secured a grant from the DTE Foundation for $35,000, which will help to provide tools needed to provide a quality program for the students.
“The ISD also received approval for six VISTA summer associates that will work directly with students in the program along with university professors and students,” Wagner said.
STEM camp is important for a number of reasons, according the Wagner, including “bridging and connecting in-school and out-of-school learning opportunities, increasing student awareness of the academic requirements of STEM fields and occupations, introducing an interdisciplinary program of study consisting of rigorous and challenging content,” and much more.
“The benefits, I hope, will be improved academic outcomes and opportunities for middle-school students by preparing them to succeed in mathematics and science course required in high school for enrollment in a four-year university and success in STEM fields,” she said.
Goodwin agreed with Wagner about the benefits of the program to help further students’ education and careers in STEM fields.
“We hope this program will encourage students to pursue more STEM courses in their Schools, to see the connections with our career centers and to see the possibilities for career in STEM once they graduate,” Goodwin said. “We also hope that as a summer program, we will be able to stem any summer loss of science and math learning.”