West Dallas STEM School Partnership Connects with Gabe Allen Elementary

In the spring of 2019, the West Dallas STEM School partnership began collaborating with Gabe Allen Elementary School’s principal Sheila Ortiz Espinell to support teacher learning.

Members of the professional learning design team, led by SMU Simmons professor Annie Wilhelm, Ph.D., and Dallas ISD’s Shannon Terry, Ph.D., met with Ms. Ortiz and her leadership team to learn more about their school and their vision for where the school was headed.

Similar meetings were held with the faculty to determine what should be included in professional learning, and the result was to focus on writing and project-based learning for science classes.

Assistant Professor Amy Gillespie Rouse at SMU Simmons started monthly professional development sessions for third to fifth-grade teachers on writing-to-learn. Also, SMU Research Assistant Professor Jeanna Wieselmann laid the foundation for project-based learning in science. The project-based unit is developed with fifth-grade science teachers who will be the first to implement it in mid-February. The intent is for the other grade levels also to have the opportunity to experience project-based learning this year.

The partnership will continue into the 2021-22 school year, and respond to the emerging needs of the campus community.

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