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The Shepardson STEM Model
The Shepardson STEM Model is a model for school level integration of STEM. The model was created as a response to the need of Shepardson Elementary School (in Fort Collins, CO) to have a clear, tangible, and transparent mechanism to convey the foundations of the underlying school-wide STEM initiative. This Model seeks to fill that role and provide a framework for instruction, programming, and school culture.
The Shepardson STEM Model is also a response to a larger need in the field of elementary STEM environments. While STEM policy and interest is increasing and educators and schools are "going STEM", there are few models in how the integration and implementation of STEM education is achieved. Schools (such as Shepardson Elementary) that ask questions like "What criteria distinguish STEM elementary schools from other schools?" and "How does STEM happen at a school level?" have been met with examples of success but few clear descriptions founded on both the elementary neighborhood school environment and nationally recognized STEM goals and values. In sum, the elementary STEM school is as of yet undefined, in terms of pedagogy as well as formal recognition by larger bodies of organization or regulation. We hope that the Shepardson STEM Model can stand as an example of one way an elementary school can create and enact a vision of STEM education by providing a tangible and visible model of school-level structure to integrate STEM in a way that preserves the larger STEM initiative and works in the elementary environment.