INSPIRATION IS EVERWHERE

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How to encourage STEM to students in communities where there are no STEM jobs

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Camdenton, Missouri

FIRST Progression of Programs School District

Central Missouri’s rural Camdenton school district has fully adopted the FIRST Progression of Programs for K-12. One of every 14 students in the district is involved at some level, with students at all levels preparing for the jobs of the future and building “soft skills” such as teamwork and public speaking.

Background

Central Missouri’s Camdenton school district wanted to prepare its students, many of whom had never traveled out of their rural community, for jobs of the future. They wanted to introduce students to rapidly expanding STEM fields – even though there were few, if any, STEM jobs within a hundred miles. And they wanted to teach essential life skills that employers seek.

Finding and Building a Program

Camdenton R-III School District Superintendent Dr. Tim Hadfield embraced FIRST because it encompassed elements that fit the district’s comprehensive strategic plan, offering activities with relevant interest and giving kids a vision as to what they want to become. With the help of a lead team of educators and a $10,000 start-up grant, FIRST Robotics Competition Team 3284 was formed with 21 high school members. Today, Camdenton has fully adopted the FIRST Progression of Programs for K-12. One of every 14 students in the district is involved at some level.

Measuring Progress

Over 92 percent of graduating Team 3284 alumni have gone on to further their STEM education or a STEM career, and students at all levels are building “soft skills” such as teamwork and public speaking.

“STEM fields are rapidly expanding, and the district determined that its students should not be left behind. Students need to understand that their future does not have to look like their present. You need to learn by doing.” — Dr. Tim Hadfield, Camdenton R-III School District Superintendent


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