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Harlingen CISD unveiled a new partnership with Discovery Education on Tuesday, Aug. 28. A team comprised of campus administrators and community members were invited to the district’s administrative offices for an introduction to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning experiences and to lend their expertise in the development of a shared vision for STEM education at HCISD.

“The intent is to bring community, district leadership, and partnerships within the community together to help cast that vision within the community and bring people on board to the understanding of STEM teaching and learning,” said Rob Underwood, Senior Director of Professional Learning at Discovery Education. “We want them to understand what the partnership with Discovery Education looks like and what it will mean for their students and teachers as we move forward.”

During the session, attendees participated in various STEM activities and were familiarized with college and career options for students interested in STEM fields. More importantly, they learned about the significance of creating purpose in instruction, and the responsibility educators have in creating authentic learning experiences in the classroom.

“A lot of people my age and older learned sitting in rows. We didn’t have devices like students have these days,” said Underwood. “It’s a different way of approaching teaching and learning. The standards are still there; that’s non-negotiable. But building upon those standards, helping students make connections to the real world in ways that are relevant so that they’re excited about their learning, that’s the idea of bringing in the community – to help them understand that we are in this together.”

The three-year partnership with Discovery Education brings a wealth of award-winning digital content for students and professional learning opportunities for staff at the STEM2 Preparatory Academy.

“This new partnership with Discovery Education will give teachers an even greater grasp of how to incorporate STEM into the curriculum,” said STEM2 director Sonya Brandenburg. “Having this in their toolbox is going to open up more doors for them to incorporate the STEM component into their lessons on a daily basis.”

Brandenburg also indicated the critical role that community partnerships will have in providing authentic experiences for her students.

“We have a service learning project that students will have the opportunity to go to as part of the schedule in our Design Fridays. Having our partnerships within the community allows us to build those connections so our students can go out to their sites and receive valuable real-world experiences.”

The program, through a transdisciplinary approach, will challenge students to tackle complex, global issues like climate action and clean energy, all while cultivating those all-important 4C’s — Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and, Critical Thinking — skills.

Since the implementation of the 2014 strategic plan, Transforming Learning for Global Achievement, HCISD has been adding to the curriculum every year in support of the plan’s key goals. Discovery Education’s unique combination of dynamic digital resources and sustained, professional development will support educators with the tools they need to maximize student success and deliver high-quality instruction as well as individualized learning.

As the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12 classrooms worldwide, Discovery Education is transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional learning, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are available in approximately half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the UK, and more than 50 countries around the globe.

Inspired by the global media company Discovery Inc., Discovery Education partners with districts, states, and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement.

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