SOUTHINGTON — Teachers and administrators continue to make progress toward launching the school system’s virtual university that will consist of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math program known as STEM.
Programs and lesson plans will feature components of STEM created by teachers. School Superintendent Joseph V. Erardi Jr. said the school system is working to design the site and complete a video that will play on the website. Nov. 15 is the target date for launching it for teachers.
“We’re hoping to share the opportunity with staff then,” Erardi said.
Groups of teachers, about three to four in each group, will be formed for each grade level to put together the first lessons design plans for the site. The Southington Education Foundation gave $13,000 for the groups to use to come up with their plans, which will amount to $1,000 per group.
“The whole thing with virtual STEM (site) is it will allow components of STEM to be incorporated into the daily curriculum,” said Dawn Miceli, the Southington Education Foundation chairwoman and a town councilor. “This is going to be revolutionary.”
Teachers will be able to retrieve lesson plans by the grade level that incorporate a component of STEM and can use them in their classrooms, she said.
Terry Lombardi, a Board of Education member who has been helping with the launch of the virtual university, said the lesson plans will help build students’ skills and prepare them for the 21st century work and college worlds. Many plans will be hands-on. All the lessons must adhere to the common core standards as well, Lombardi added.
“I think it’s a great mix of teamwork and what we can do,” she said. “This is all supported by the Southington Education Foundation and the Board of Education with no cost to our district.”
The district had a tentative plan to launch the site to the teachers by Oct. 1 but wanted more time. Miceli said they hope to launch the program to students before the end of the year.
“We don’t want to rush anything with this, we’re trying to get it right,” Miceli said. “We are literally building a website from scratch. These lesson design plans need to be created and uploaded to the site. There are a lot of different processes that have to go through.”