I-STEM serves the primary and secondary schools in Indiana with both student and teacher programs. I-STEM works with school and district leadership on strategic planning for STEM education, and improving student performance. I-STEM is actively focused on systemically improving science education in grades K-8 across Indiana. Additional efforts are focused on integrating mathematics and engineering with science into a comprehensive STEM curriculum.
On another level, I-STEM serves the businesses and institutions of higher education in Indiana by emphasizing career and college readiness in STEM disciplines. This effort includes alignment to state and national standards, policy inputs for statewide STEM support, and quantitative assessment measures in STEM subject areas.
The signature I-STEM program is the Indiana Science Initiative. The vision for the Indiana Science Initiative (ISI) is to systemically reform K-8 science education in Indiana using research-based science curricular materials that are implemented with literacy-enriched strategies. Piloted in 2010, ISI includes 32 school districts statewide with 152 schools, over 2,400 teachers, and 52,000 students, and provides science curriculum for grades K-8, with an emphasis on supporting higher-need districts. Materials management for ISI science kits is handled by Purdue University, which ships, returns and refurbishes approximately 400 tons of materials for ISI schools every year. Part of our ISI efforts includes Mathematics and Science Partnership grants where we also support science coaches, additional materials, professional development, and assessment.
I-STEM has successfully developed and implemented the Indiana Science Initiative, with very good acceptance and results across most school districts. The engagement of teachers and administrators, along with the performance and excitement of the students, are true measures of success. As the operations side of ISI has been fine-tuned, I-STEM’s operational performance has improved significantly.
Professional development for ISI teachers has been very successful also, and continues to be in demand this year. I-STEM provides more science professional development for science teachers than any other source in Indiana. I-STEM held 74 professional development sessions in 2010 – 2015, training for over 2,400 hours.