New West Dallas PreK-8 STEM School To Open In August

West Dallas parents and students talk about how they envision the new STEM School.

DALLAS (SMU) May, 4, 2021 – In West Dallas a new Pre K-8 STEM school is set to open this August beginning with students in the 7th and 8th grades.  The West Dallas STEM School, a Dallas Independent School District Transformation and Innovation School, is the result of more than three years of collaboration between the District, the Toyota USA Foundation, SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development and the West Dallas community.

“We strongly believe that all children should have equal access to opportunities and a pathway to great careers,” said Sean Suggs, director, Toyota USA Foundation and group vice president, Toyota Social Innovation. “Together with the community, we have worked on everything from building design, teacher development, curriculum and before and after school care.  This extends also to addressing broader community needs, including access to transportation.”

To support the school as it opens and its new Master Principal Marion Jackson, the Toyota USA Foundation approved an additional grant of $3 million to SMU, adding to the $2 million grant the foundation awarded in September 2018.  This is in addition to Toyota’s teacher and community grants, West Dallas scholarship and mentorship programs, and the recently launched transportation circulator in the area.

“We know that there many related issues – from access to healthy food to before and after school care – that all tie into academic success. This is something we need to collectively address, and we encourage additional partners to come alongside the effort,” added Suggs.

To further support the school, business leader Carter Creech, an SMU alumnus with a passion for education philanthropy, has pledged an additional $3.5 million, following his initial gift of $1.5 million to the project.  Creech’s contribution will go toward a new middle school career and college readiness pilot program at the school, as well as efforts to replicate the West Dallas STEM school.

“As we move from planning to implementation, we have deepened our commitment to the school, to the model, and to each other,” said Simmons School Dean Stephanie Knight. “SMU is grateful for this unique partnership, and thanks both the Toyota Foundation USA and Carter Creech for continued investment in our community’s children – the problem solvers of the future.”

The West Dallas STEM School Program at Pinkston

The West Dallas STEM School Program at Pinkston is a neighborhood school that will begin by serving the 7th and 8th grade.  PreK – 1st grade is scheduled to begin enrollment in 2023.

The school brings together four integral components to create an innovative PK – 8 school model:

  • A project-based, industry-informed STEM curriculum
  • Professional development for educators
  • “Wraparound” services delivered directly to the students by community nonprofit organizations to help with issues such as literacy, nutrition, transportation and after-school care
  • Evaluation and measurement to support a model of continuous improvement

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for the students and community of West Dallas,” principal Jackson said. “This partnership has afforded us the space to realize what’s possible when we focus our collective efforts on changing how we meet the needs of our students and families. We are committed to equipping our students to succeed in an evolving global society.”

SMU’s Simmons School is providing faculty expertise to develop project-based learning, which means that students will learn by working in groups to solve open-ended problems using design, engineering, math, science and technology. The approach prepares students to take on new challenges as they occur – and to understand how to build new knowledge on existing concepts.  The Simmons School will provide professional development for teachers, and Simmons researchers will monitor and evaluate the program as it evolves, developing a model to create other STEM-focused schools.

Partnering with the West Dallas Community  

Since the onset, the West Dallas community has been engaged in the creation of the school, advising on everything from design to input on services offered at the school.

Parents, such as José Alas, who sits on the school’s advisory council, have been engaged from the beginning. “This school really will help bridge the gap in opportunities when it comes to education,” he says. “Every child has the potential to do great things if we can provide them what they need, and I think the school is going to do just that. We always juggle where to send our children and now we are going to have one of the best schools in our backyard.”

Organizations such as West Dallas One and the West Dallas Community Coalition also have been active in the partnership, participating in the school’s design teams and focus groups with residents. Additionally, six long-established West Dallas nonprofit groups have been working on plans to expand their services within the school to help students and their families gain quick access to resources they need.

For more information, please visit https://www.dallasisd.org/westdallasstem

National Academy of Education Inducts Richard Duschl for Contributions in Science Education

Professor Richard Duschl, a leader in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering known for his continuing contributions to science education through research, has been elected a member of the National Academy of Education (NAEd).

Duschl is the Executive Director of SMU Lyle’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education and also has an appointment in SMU’s Simmons School of Education & Human Development in the Teaching and Learning Department.

 “Induction into a National Academy representing your field of expertise is the pinnacle of achievement in one’s career,” Marc P. Christensen, dean of the Lyle School of Engineering, said. “When we recruited Prof. Duschl to lead the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education, we knew he was one of the most distinguished researchers in the field education. We are so pleased that he has been formally recognized in this way.”

Duschl has been President of NARST, the International Association for Science Education Research. He also served as director of the Division for Research on Learning at the National Science Foundation and chaired the U.S. Department of Education National Resource Center report, “Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8” (National Academies Press, 2007).

Before joining SMU in 2018, his past appointments included the Waterbury Chair at Penn State University, Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University, Chair of Science Education at King’s College London, Vanderbilt University, the University of Pittsburgh, Hunter College-CUNY and the University of Houston. Duschl taught high school earth science in Charles County, Md. and middle school science and math in East Lansing, Mich.

In 2014 Duschl was awarded the NARST Distinguished Career in Research Award. He served for 10 years as the editor of “Science Education,” an international journal of research and scholarship, and was editor of the Teachers College Press book series “Ways of Knowing in Science.”

Duschl is one of 22 people selected on March 11 to join the National Academy of Education.  

Other new members include:

  • Megan Bang, Spencer Foundation/Northwestern University
  • Daryl Chubin, Independent Consultant and Founding Co-Director, Understanding Interventions
  • Colette Daiute, The City University of New York, Graduate Center
  • Kenneth Frank, Michigan State University
  • Jonathan Guryan, Northwestern University
  • Shaun Harper, University of Southern California
  • Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek, Temple University
  • Andrew Ho, Harvard University
  • Nancy Hornberger, University of Pennsylvania
  • Tyrone Howard, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Kent McGuire, Hewlett Foundation
  • Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, University of Delaware
  • Richard Milner IV, Vanderbilt University

The NAEd advances high-quality education research and its use in policy and practice. The Academy consists of U.S. members and international associates who are elected on the basis of outstanding scholarships related to education.

 

 

 

 

 

Ph.D. Student Robyn Pinilla to Participate in 2021 Clinton Global Initiative University

Robyn Pinilla, a Simmons doctoral student working in early mathematics, has been selected to join the  Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) 2021.

This program involves a commitment to action to address a specific challenge with a defined course of action and detailed objectives.

Pinilla will be working on a process to develop community-based STEM programming for young children, their families, and teachers in Dallas areas of need.

SMU provides funding to its selected students for getting their projects started and attending the annual CGI U meeting, which will be held at Howard University March 23-26. Graduation is in November.

“This exciting opportunity to work with the Clinton Foundation to collaborate with scholars and entrepreneurs from around the world reinforces the leadership and partnership ideals of SMU’s commitment to world-changing transformation,” she says.

 

 

Wilhelm’s Opinion Piece Looks at Math Loss as a Teaching Opportunity

Associate Professor Anne Garrison Wilhelm offers new possibilities to deal with math learning losses during the pandemic.

In an opinion piece published by InsideSources.com, she believes now is the time to redress traditional ways of engaging students in math.

“Even before COVID-19, our mathematics education system was not serving most kids,” she says. “Some just assumed they didn’t “get” math; others never really understood the mathematics they were taught in school, and this manifested when they had to enroll in college remedial math courses.”

For her ideas to create new strategies and make math a part of everyday life, read her piece here. Wilhelm teaches math education and conducts research in Simmons’ Department of Teaching and Learning.

Eight New Faculty Members Join Simmons

The Simmons School welcomes new faculty members to the Departments of Teaching &  Learning, and Applied Physiology and Wellness.

Joining Teaching & Learning are

In Applied Physiology and Wellness, they are

Simmons looks forward to their contributions and ideas.

Ketterlin Geller and Lyle Colleagues Discuss NSF Research on Gaming for Teaching STEM and Computing

Simmons Professor Leanne Ketterlin Geller and co-principal investigators at the Lyle School, Associate Professor Eric Larson, and Assistant Professor Corey Clark, talk about the impetus behind their $1.5 million National Science Foundation grant allowing them to develop a videogame to teach computational thinking. Computational thinking should begin in Pre-K and followed through Grade 12, but as Ketterlin Geller notes getting students engaged in math and science is difficult.

In a recent article featured in Lyle Now, they discuss how their inspiration to use a Minecraft-based game for teaching came from the literacy game Simmons, Guildhall, and Literacy for Texas collaborated on for the Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy X-Prize competition. The game won the grand prize, and Clark says, “We figured if educational gaming can help teach literacy concepts, why not use it to teach math, science and computational thinking by converting it into Minecraft?” Clark, also deputy director of research at SMU Guildhall, is an education gaming expert who constructed the X-Prize game.

SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development Professor and Texas Instruments Endowed Chair in Education Leanne Ketterlin Geller

Ketterlin Geller says the research team is speaking to local school districts about potential collaborations. “Having student and teacher voices in the ultimate design and dissemination of the project will help with its implementation, longevity, and sustainability.”

Their feedback is essential because the team is striving for key education outcomes such as engaging in gameplay; changes in students’ interest, attitudes, beliefs and self-efficacy in STEM+C; involvement in collaborative, open-ended solutions; and achievement in related computing and mathematics concepts. Research for this project began last fall and continues through 2022.

Virtual Community Meeting for West Dallas STEM School Set for June 8, 2020

You are invited to attend a virtual community meeting to discuss plans for the new West Dallas STEM School at Pinkston. The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, June 8, 2020, online at www.dallasisd.org/Bond2015Meetings. Dallas Independent School District representatives will be in attendance to make a presentation and answer questions about the project. Spanish translation will be available. Dallas ISD’s planning for the school has been done in partnership with Toyota USA Foundation, SMU Simmons, and the West Dallas Community.

STEM Videos by Simmons Faculty Receive Awards from NSF’s Voting Public

Faculty members Leanne Ketterlin Geller, Ph.D. (Education Policy and Leadership), and Candace Walkington, Ph.D. (Teaching & Learning), created winning videos about their STEM research for a National Science Foundation showcase competition, May 5-12. A voting public selected the top videos.

Professor Ketterlin Geller and her team, Research in Mathematics Education, received the Public Choice award, and  Associate Professor Candace Walkington and her co-researchers received the  Facilitators’ Choice award.

Ketterlin Geller’s video “Developing STEM Access in Students K-2 through MMaRS” illustrates research on two early predictors of mathematics success in K-2 students: numerical relational reasoning and spatial reasoning. Researchers describe what underlies the project and an elementary school principal articulates the importance of an assessment to identify student thinking and guide teacher instruction. View video here:

https://stemforall2020.videohall.com/presentations/1717

Walkington’s presentation, “The Hidden Village: Mathematical Reasoning Through Movement,” looks at a motion capture Kinect video game for learning high school geometry that was initially developed through a collaboration between the Simmons School of Education and Human Development at SMU, the Guildhall at SMU, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The project was funded by The Institute of Educational Sciences in the U.S. Department of Education, in an award given to the University of Wisconsin. View video here:

https://stemforall2020.videohall.com/presentations/1662

 

 

Dallas ISD Names Master Principal Marion Jackson to Lead New STEM School, Opening in Collaboration with Simmons, Toyota USA Foundation, and West Dallas Community

Marion Jackson

Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) master principal Marion Jackson has been named to lead the West Dallas STEM School – an educational collaboration of the district, Toyota USA Foundation, Southern Methodist University (SMU) and the West Dallas community.

Known for her innovative and transformative leadership, Jackson brings a depth of knowledge in STEM instruction to the post. Most notably, she has a track record of closing student performance gaps and increasing academic achievement in reading, math and science as measured by Texas Education Agency standards. Evidence of her forward-thinking approach includes her co-development of a best practice model in mathematics instruction implemented in the Bryan Adams feeder pattern. The model led to improvements in student math performance across several metrics.

For nearly 15 years, Jackson has served the families of Dallas ISD as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. Much of that time was spent supporting students and leading instruction as campus administrator at Martha Turner Reilly Elementary School.

“The positive experiences I’ve received in Dallas ISD and the communities we get to connect with each day are, in part, what makes this opportunity special,” said Jackson. “As we build a foundation for our students to explore all elements of STEM, I have no doubt that with the support of Toyota USA Foundation, SMU and the West Dallas community, our one-of-a-kind campus will fuel the next generation of STEM leaders.”

Experts continue to forecast a robust future demand for workers skilled in science, technology, engineering and math. The STEM school’s unique public-private partnership aims to inspire and prepare students for the next generation of STEM jobs through a project-based and business-aligned curriculum.

In 2018, Toyota USA Foundation granted $2 million to SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development to support curriculum development, advise on state-of-the-art educational practices, provide teacher professional development, coordinate partnerships with community nonprofits, and monitor and evaluate the program. The future school will be operated and staffed by the Dallas ISD, whose Office of Transformation and Innovation will co-facilitate the design of the school in collaboration with School Leadership.

The collaboration will also bring together nonprofits, including groups already working with Dallas ISD through the SMU Simmons School program, The School Zone, and partners of Toyota Motor North America. Together, the team will address community issues such as literacy, nutrition, transportation and after-school care – each vital to creating successful outcomes for students and families.

Jackson holds several certifications, including a standard Texas School Principal credential and is certified in special education in grades first to 12. She is a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Monroe, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. She also holds a master’s degree in instructional leadership from Concordia University Texas. Jackson will officially assume the new role June 1 upon completion of the current school year. The STEM school will begin a phased opening in fall 2021.

Spanish version below

Dallas ISD nombra a educadora con amplia experiencia como directora de escuela STEM en oeste de Dallas

La escuela es una colaboración entre la Fundación Toyota USA, SMU y la comunidad del oeste de Dallas; la apertura gradual comenzará en otoño de 2021

Dallas – Marion Jackson, integrante del grupo de directores destacados del Distrito Escolar Independiente de Dallas (Dallas ISD), ha sido nombrada directora de la escuela STEM en el oeste de Dallas — una colaboración entre el distrito, la Fundación Toyota USA, Southern Methodist University (SMU) y la comunidad del oeste de Dallas.

Conocida por su liderazgo innovador y transformador, Jackson brindará su vasto conocimiento sobre la enseñanza STEM a la nueva escuela. En particular, tiene un historial de reducir las brechas en el desempeño de los estudiantes, así como mejorar el aprovechamiento académico en lectura, matemáticas y ciencias, de acuerdo con los estándares de la Agencia de Educación de Texas. Una evidencia de su enfoque innovador es su colaboración en el desarrollo de un modelo de mejores prácticas en la enseñanza de matemáticas implementado en la zona escolar de la preparatoria Bryan Adams. Este modelo dio lugar a mejoras en el desempeño estudiantil en matemáticas en diversas métricas.

Por casi 15 años, Jackson ha servido a las familias de Dallas ISD como maestra, subdirectora y directora. Dedicó una gran parte de ese tiempo a apoyar a sus estudiantes y dirigir la enseñanza como administradora escolar en Martha Turner Reilly Elementary School.

“Las experiencias positivas que he vivido en Dallas ISD y las comunidades con las que estamos en contacto todos los días son parte de lo que hace tan especial esta oportunidad”, dijo Jackson. “Conforme construimos la base para que los estudiantes exploren los elementos de STEM, no tengo duda de que con el apoyo de la Fundación Toyota USA, SMU y la comunidad del oeste de Dallas, nuestra singular escuela formará a la siguiente generación de líderes en STEM”.

Los expertos continúan anticipando una fuerte demanda de profesionales capacitados en ciencias, tecnología, ingeniería y matemáticas. La colaboración público-privada de la escuela STEM busca inspirar y preparar a los estudiantes para la siguiente generación de empleos STEM a través de un plan de estudios basado en proyectos y que se adapta a la industria.

En 2018, la Fundación Toyota USA concedió $2 millones a la Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development de SMU para apoyar el desarrollo del currículo, asesorar sobre las últimas prácticas educativas, ofrecer capacitación profesional de maestros, coordinar asociaciones con organizaciones comunitarias sin fines de lucro y supervisar y evaluar el programa. La escuela la operará el personal de Dallas ISD, cuya Oficina de Transformación e Innovación colaborará con Liderazgo Escolar para el diseño de la escuela.

La colaboración también involucrará a organizaciones sin fines de lucro, incluyendo a grupos que actualmente colaboran con Dallas ISD a través del programa de la Simmons School of Education and Human Development de SMU, The School Zone y socios como Toyota Motor North America. El equipo tratará temas de la comunidad como la alfabetización, nutrición, transporte y cuidado infantil después de clases—todos vitales para generar resultados positivos para los alumnos y sus familias.

Jackson cuenta con varias certificaciones, incluyendo las credenciales de Texas School Principal y está certificada en educación especial de 1º a 12º grado. Es egresada de la Universidad de Louisiana en Monroe, donde obtuvo la licenciatura de periodismo de difusión. También cuenta con una maestría en liderazgo educativo por la Concordia University Texas. Jackson asumirá su puesto de manera oficial el próximo 1 de junio, una vez se complete el año escolar en curso. La escuela STEM comenzará su apertura gradual en el otoño de 2021.

 

 

Barbie Bungee Jumping? Walkington Takes Math Activities for Home to New Heights

Shelter-in-place requirements create new challenges for math learning – for students, parents and teachers working remotely. To help families make math fun and relevant to these times of handwashing, neighborhood walks and togetherness, SMU math education professor Candace Walkington suggests Soap Bubble Magic, STEMWalks and Barbie Bungee Jumping.

Walkington, an associate professor of math in SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development, specializes in making math relative and interesting to students. Her research includes engaging students in math by connecting their math skills to careers and outside-of-school interests.

“These activities for kids grades 3-8 are especially educational because the fun truly comes from the math itself being interesting and engaging,” says Walkington. “They also introduce math into the things we’re doing every day as we stay at home and practice social distancing.”

Here are Walkington’s favorites, including links that provided inspiration for her suggestions:

Geopanes: The Mathematics of Soap Bubbles

Since you’re washing your hands all the time anyways, here is another good way to connect with soap and water, masquerading as a fun math activity.

Supplies:

  • toothpicks
  • small objects that can link toothpicks together, such as raisins, marshmallows or clay balls
  • a mixing bowl filled with water and a few squirts of dishwashing liquid

Directions: Use the toothpicks and connectors like raisins to build polyhedrons, which are  three-dimensional geometric solids such as pyramids, prisms and cubes. Once they are built, dip your shapes into the soapy water – and see how the soapy water reveals complex surfaces or “geopanes.”

“If you only try one activity on this list, this one would be my recommendation. What happens when these are dipped into the soapy water is AMAZING! You can also integrate science into this activity by talking about surface tension in water and why the geopanes form as they do,” Walkington says.

Source: AIMS Education Foundation

http://gemsclub.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/Geopanes.4395625.pdf

 

Create a Math Walk

Here’s a new angle for your “escape the house” neighborhood walk. The walkSTEM® initiative launched by the non-profit talkSTEM, encourages families to go on virtual math walks via video, and create their own math walks in their backyard or their neighborhood.

Supplies: Walking shoes and a measurement instrument (optional)

Directions: Watch a few math walk videos on the talkSTEM YouTube channel as your first step –in particular ones where kids are acting as docents, like this one.

Create your own neighborhood walkSTEM tour. Observe everyday things – trees, roofs, street lights – and come up with questions about your observations. Why are roofs slanted? How tall are street lights? Select one question to explore in depth.

“Make a video of your walkSTEM tour and submit it to the talkSTEM Youtube channel to inspire other families,” Walkington suggests.

Source: talkSTEM

https://talkstem.org/create-your-own-walkstem-parents/

 

Barbie Bungee Jump

Anytime is a good time for a Barbie bungee jump, but this activity also allows cooped-up kids to work off steam. The objective is to guess how many rubber bands can be combined to create a “bungee cord” that drops Barbie as close to the ground as possible

Supplies:

  • A Barbie doll, GI Joe doll, or other similarly-sized, reasonably-heavy doll (stuffed animals are too light)
  • 15-30 same-sized rubber bands
  • ruler, meterstick or yardstick.

Directions: First, tape a large piece of paper to the wall, with a high point of five or six feet from the floor clearly marked as the Barbie dropping point. Barbie will need to be dropped from this height, so a parent or older brother or sister should help. String the rubber bands together to make a bungee cord for Barbie and attach to her ankles.

Test how far Barbie falls with two rubber bands, three rubber bands, four rubber bands, etc., then estimate just the right number of rubber bands for Barbie to jump, almost touch the ground, then spring back unharmed.

Keep trying until you find the perfect number of rubber bands for the best jump.

“There is nothing more satisfying than choosing the exact right number of rubber bands, and seeing the doll just barely kiss the ground as she bungee jumps, and then bounces back up to safety,” Walkington says.

 

Source: NCTM Illuminations

https://illuminations.nctm.org/uploadedfiles/content/lessons/resources/6-8/barbie-as-project.pdf