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School District 54 partners with Discovery Education to create innovative STEM learning experiences

District 54 is excited to work with Discovery Education to provide our students with an innovative STEM curriculum, through a combination of award-winning digital content and sustained, job-embedded professional development.

This year, District 54 adopted the 54 Promise, a multiyear strategic plan guiding District 54’s core work of ensuring whole-child student success.  Discovery Education was chosen specifically to support the 54 Promise’s focus on cultivating innovation in learning spaces and instructional design.  This effort will begin with the creation of an engaging STEM curriculum that ignites student curiosity and develops the important 21st Century skills district students will need for future success.

“The entire team at School District 54 is deeply committed to creating an innovative environment of teaching and learning,” District 54 Superintendent Andy DuRoss said. “This new partnership with Discovery Education empowers our educators to combine evidence-based pedagogy with cutting-edge digital technologies to create the innovative, blended, STEM experiences we know will captivate today’s students. We look forward to getting started on this exciting effort.”

Discovery Education’s STEM Connect will serve as a key component of District 54’s STEM curriculum.  A web-based resource, STEM Connect helps students develop the creative, critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills they need for success. Featuring flexible, modular learning units, STEM Connect provides students an easy-to-follow educational experience that includes real-world challenges, career connections and hands-on activities.

Discovery Education Streaming Plus will also play a key role in District 54’s STEM curriculum. Discovery Education Streaming Plus helps build students’ mastery in interpreting, understanding and evaluating information. Students can access a variety of digital assets including images, primary source documents, podcasts, oral interviews, articles, videos and more, and are empowered to become creators with a suite of content creation tools that help teachers and students safely and easily collaborate in real-time on virtual projects. Teacher resources include lesson plans, instructional strategies, interactive learning courses and content collections organized around themes, as well as a collection of new STEM/STEAM resources designed to fuel a cultural shift in teaching and learning.

To help District 54’s educators embed the STEM curriculum and innovative teaching strategies into classroom instruction, district educators will also participate in a sustained professional learning initiative called Innovate 54. Powered in part by Discovery Education’s STEM Leader Corps model, District 54 administrators and teachers participating in Innovate 54’s professional learning opportunities will learn new strategies and best practices for building and sustaining a culture of STEM in their schools. With a focus on developing high-quality STEM instruction, creating interdisciplinary lessons and units, and vertically aligning STEM education districtwide, this initiative provides the robust professional development, job-embedded coaching and administrative leadership support necessary to create centers of STEM excellence.

“Discovery Education is proud to have been selected by School District 54 to support the creation of their new STEM curriculum,” Discovery Education Partnership Manager Emily Keith said. “Superintendent DuRoss and his entire team are deeply committed to creating a vibrant culture of innovation across the district, and we look forward to working with all School District 54 educators on this exciting effort.”