Our academic focus on quality STEM education and student-centered, innovative pedagogy exemplifies our commitment to equity in the present and the future. Not only are technical skills in science, technology use, engineering, and mathematics keys to advancement in the workplace of the 21st century, but the inquiry-based pedagogy developed around STEM focuses on life and learning skills that transcend disciplines: critical thinking, collaboration, clear communication, design thinking and creativity and problem-solving are real tools for success in every realm of life.
Student-centered, innovative pedagogy is the method to cultivate these skills – and an important step in modeling and establishing individual voice and meeting individual needs in the classroom.
Our approach distributes and leverages administrator and teacher leadership, builds ongoing capacity and makes the model more sustainable overall. Instructional professional development supports offer opportunities for mentoring support, conducting observations, co-planning, co-teaching, reviewing lesson plans, modeling best practices and leading Professional Learning Communities.
Key to our approach is building an interdisciplinary culture that balances a goal-orientation which encourages student autonomy and an open-minded approach to learning. This requires teacher flexibility, while simultaneously holding students accountable–no matter what path they take to reach their learning goals. Interdiscipline integration is deliberate but not forced—increasing relevance and boosting engagement. The scientific method and inquiry-based learning are applied to lessons in ELA and Social Studies.
Innovation in STEM for inner-city schools is a primary academic focus for the CSC. We deliver STEM pedagogy through partnerships with: LMU’s School of Education (Center for Math and Science Teaching) and iDEAL Institute (blended learning); and CodeRev Kids (coding). Additionally, we are working with Envision Learning Partners to deliver project-based learning supports in order to support our interdisciplinary focus.
Learner-centered teachers must:
We believe that a collaborative culture benefits teachers as well as students. The teacher’s primary role is that of a facilitator. Teachers share expertise with one another to design interdisciplinary projects. Space is created for teachers to communicate and collaborate regularly. They work closely with one another and in collaboration with students–often building their own expertise and facility with 21st century.
Student-centered teachers leverage technology to boost access and outcomes by customizing student experiences based on powerful student data. Teachers in learner-centered environments don’t just use “technology for the sake of technology,” and teachers are not replaced by programs and devices. In fact, teachers in our blended learning environments are more important than ever. They use data from online programs and assessments to get a clear sense of student learning and then differentiate instruction accordingly. Teachers use student data to form intervention and enrichment groups, and for flexible grouping for dynamic small-group instruction.