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Santa Rosa County Public Schools, FL

Santa Rosa County Schools is a medium size, rural/suburban school district in the panhandle of Florida with 35 schools, serving over 26,000 students. As one of the highest performing districts in the state, that has been historically one of the lowest funded, Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick has a bold vision for leveraging STEAM to transform the culture of teaching and learning.

Goals

With a rapidly growing Title I student population and the district’s vision to be a world-class school system that ensures equitable access to instructional excellence for every student, every day, Santa Rosa County Schools partnered with Discovery Education to bring the below goals to life:
  • Accelerating student engagement and achievement
  • Fueling economic development and community engagement
  • Transforming the culture of teaching and learning
  • Maximizing investment in technology and human capital
  • Driving personalized learning within a student-centered learning environment

Solution

To bring this inspiring vision to life, Santa Rosa County Schools partnered with Discovery Education to build and execute a 5-year strategic initiative branded STEAM INNOVATE. The measurable, observable outcomes of STEAM INNOVATE in Santa Rosa County Schools are:
  • 25 schools serving as the district’s STEAM models of innovation
  • 100+ STEAM Innovators receiving intensive professional development and job-embedded coaching
  • 100+ STEAM Innovators redelivering 21st-Century STEAM modules to their school-based peers
  • 25+ administrators receiving customized administrative leadership professional development
  • 4,000+ students using Techbook in Math, Science and Social Studies
  • Ongoing community and business engagement opportunities

Impact

In 2016, Santa Rosa County Schools celebrated the completion of Year 1 INNOVATE and are seeing powerful results in student engagement, teacher capacity, and early indicators of increased student achievement. In addition to these early indicators, Santa Rosa County Schools is partnering with The University of West Florida who to conduct a comprehensive research and evaluation project to measure the quantitative and qualitative results of STEAM INNOVATE.

Fort Mill Schools, SC

Fort Mill Schools partnered with Discovery Education’s STEM Leader Corps, a comprehensive program that helps scale digital and instructional leadership in school districts. Schools in Fort Mill were already using the company’s Science Techbook digital textbook, and it plans to expand into Discovery Education STEM Connect in the future. The district’s partnership with Discovery Education has been powerful and unique, said district STEM Coordinator Chad Allen, adding that it was unlike any of his previous experiences with education service providers.

“Discovery Education’s people have been right alongside us every step of the way. They’ve invested themselves in the community, they talk to parents at PTO meetings—it’s almost like they work for the district,” said Allen.

Through the Leader Corps, Fort Mill’s educators are being prepared for effective STEAM instruction and establishing a team of teacher leaders that will help drive systemwide change. “Having a clear professional development structure for implementing STEAM is important to focus our efforts to achieve our goals,” said McGinn. “It also fosters communication and collaboration within and between our schools.”

Val Verde Unified School District, CA

District leaders were initially attracted to Science Techbook because of its deeply rooted connection to NGSS. Powerful model lessons give students a relatable anchor point for learning about the world around them, inspiring them to discover the passion of a scientist in each of them.

“Discovery Education provided the guidance and structure we needed to switch to phenomena-based and inquiry-based instruction.”
Doug Henderson
STEAM Coordinator
Val Verde USD

Students at Val Verde Unified School District are getting a head start in classrooms, where an innovative combination of leadership, vision, and technology is driving achievement. Even from the earliest grade levels, lessons in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) are woven through each classroom experience.

“We wanted our students to have the problem-solving, 21st-century learning capabilities that can keep them competitive in today’s job market,“ said Superintendent Michael R. McCormick. “So we decided that all of our kids deserve to be immersed in STEAM learning.”

Val Verde educators also recently made the leap to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), using Discovery Education Science Techbook for NGSS to reinforce instruction.

Val Verde’s STEAM Coordinator Doug Henderson said Techbook’s focus on real-world, relevant phenomena has been a huge win for Val Verde’s schools as they transition their classrooms to NGSS.

District leaders were initially attracted to Science Techbook because of its deeply rooted connection to NGSS. Powerful model lessons help teachers give students a relatable anchor point for learning about the world around them, inspiring them to discover the passion of a scientist in each of them.

“It is our primary source in my science classroom,” said Armando Flores, 6th grade math and science teacher. “When students have something that feels kind of outside the box from normal instruction, they get really excited.”

Techbook’s ability to switch the text between English and Spanish languages on-the-fly, along with a text-to-speech function, added up to another big plus for Val Verde’s set of diverse learners.

“After showing our elementary teachers they can teach reading and writing using science as the hook, and have it speak to you in English or Spanish, we all signed off on Techbook being the best product out there for us,” said Henderson.