STEM Best Practices Conference attracts hundreds from all over the state

amcelweeMaking the Grade: Utah works to improve its marks in STEM education Utah Business May 8, 2018News

Almost 700 educators, administrators and industry officials gathered at the Utah Valley Convention Center for the third annual STEM Best Practices Conference.

Dina Wise, a principal at Bruin Point Elementary, traveled from Carbon County to attend. “I’m the administrator at a rural school. My student population is 110 with an 80 percent poverty rate,” Wise said.

Wise brought three of her teachers to the conference to explore how STEM could be integrated at the school. “My students don’t get exposed to a lot of things,” she said. “A lot of my students don’t have technology in their home.”

Others at the conference were like Wise, exploring STEM and how it could be implemented at the school. The conference included five tracks: student engagement, leadership/mentoring, hands-on learning, cross-curricular connections and technology integration.

Joseph South, the keynote speaker, is the former director of the office of educational technology in the U.S. Department of Education. South told a story of a student from the coal mining areas of West Virginia and how with the support of teachers and STEM curriculum discovered a star.

That story resonated with Wise who lives in the coal-mining area of Carbon County. “Coal mining and the gas industry are going down,” Wise said. “Where are my students going to get jobs? If it’s not in the technical field, where will they go?”

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