Gale Pond Alamo elementary earns national STEM certification
Gale Pond Alamo STEAM Academy is the first ECISD school to earn the National Certificate for STEM Excellence from the National Institute for STEM Education (NISE.) Alamo is also the first campus in West Texas to earn this distinction, and one of just 17 in Texas and 31 in the United States so far. Lia Turk, NISE Strategic Manager, made the presentation at a school-wide assembly on Wednesday afternoon.
“Gale Pond Alamo STEAM Academy explored and implemented strategies to help provide differentiated learning experiences for all of their students,” said Ms. Turk. “They are accomplishing their goal to ensure that daily instruction meets their students exactly where they are and then builds on that foundation to sustain lifelong learning via engagement and critical thinking.”
NISE is a research-based support system for campuses and teachers seeking to strengthen STEM instruction and outcomes. Based on 15 STEM Teacher Actions that evolved from STEM professional development originally created at Rice University, NISE’s Campus and Teacher Certificates help school leaders and teachers understand and apply research and best practices in STEM, 21st-century learning and professional development.
“The process gave our teachers the tools to teach differently because the students are learning differently,” said Gale Pond Alamo Principal Regina Lee. “It looks different. Four of our grade levels have flexible/active seating for collaborative work. The teacher is more of a facilitator, and kids are up, moving around and working hands-on.
In addition to the campus designation, seven of Alamo’s teachers earned the individual National Certificate for STEM Teaching. Those seven are David Cupp (5th grade), Maria Delbosque (5th grade), Nicole Miller (5th grade), Kathryn Moreno (4th grade), Marcia Bryant (2nd grade), Ale Caceres (1st grade), and Barbara Hurst (1st grade). STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. Gale Pond Alamo adds the concept of Art to its curriculum creating the STEAM acronym.
Seven more Alamo teachers are currently working on their individual certificates, further contributing to the school’s collective STEM expertise. The Gale Pond Alamo magnet program is unique in another way – it follows an extended year calendar with three extra weeks of classes and four intersession breaks at different times of the year. Some openings for next year are still available for students who want to apply to Gale Pond Alamo STEAM Academy. The application can be found on the ECISD Schools of Choice Department web page.
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