Burgettstown Area School District is tackling the need for STEAM education and innovation in the classroom. The Burgettstown Area School District recently was just one school whose high school students recently completed their Inventionland Invention Contest pitches as part of our Inventionland Innovation Course!
Assistant to the Superintendent Mandi Figlioli sat in as a judge during student presentations at Inventionland. In addition, she shared some insight on why the cross-curricular program is so important for Burgettstown administrators, educators and students.
Here are the top five reasons Figlioli said Burgettstown chose to pursue Inventionland’s Innovation Course:
1. Individualized Curriculum
“It’s such a unique course in the fact that it provides customized learning for each student. That’s very challenging to do as a teacher because when kids come into your classroom, they don’t have the same strengths or needs, so this course makes it very easy to differentiate. A lot of times you sign up for a class and the teacher decides the direction of the course and the content of the course. This curriculum gives them the freedom to make it their own; to engage in critical thinking, problem solving and hands-on, minds-on learning.”
2. Integrated Project-based Learning
“This classroom serves as a lab of learning. Once these students have completed the course, we’d like the teachers to come in and observe students in the classroom. It’s something that shouldn’t just be part of one elective in the entire building. It’s really a catalyst for a widespread integration of project-based learning.”
3. The ABC’s of Storytelling
“The ABC’s of storytelling is such an important component of the course. In our district, we implement reading, writing, listening and speaking as a part of every course. That element of this course really brings the idea together – the idea of cross-curricular learning. It’s ingenious. We were just amazed as we sat through the training. It’s all there! It’s very comprehensive.”
4. Focus on Creative Thinking
“We’ve been implementing elements of this kind of learning. It’s not a new idea as it goes back in education to what we call ‘constructivist learning’. Constructivist learning is hands-on learning. Today, we’re in an era of testing, so that can directly conflict with a teacher wanting to do creative things. This curriculum puts creativity back at the forefront and makes it a priority in our district.”
5. Entrepreneurial Skills for a Professional World
“We are a very rural school district, but a lot of making is going on in our community – from metal fabrication, to plumbing and also lumber building. This is the opportunity for students to explore entrepreneurship and the idea of bringing these concepts back to the community and starting new businesses post-graduation.”
Figlioli anticipates a positive impact on student attendance and achievement rates, which she attributes to student involvement and excitement in the course. With this innovation course, Figlioli said Burgettstown administrators and educators continue to work toward the district’s mission of Building Ambitious Students Daily.
“Our goal is just to remind them that anything is possible. Regardless of your current situation, how you have achieved in school, if your mindset is not fixed, but open, you can do anything. The kids can do anything and that’s really what we want to encourage them to do. I love the notion of failing your way forward. It’s so true! Everything is very instant gratification for 21st century learners. This course pulls together the idea that when you fail, it’s really your first attempt at learning; that it’s not a course or any assignment that’s competed after one attempt. It will take perseverance and grit to create a product that works or have an idea that is substantial. We’re open-minded as to where it’s going to take us!” said Figlioli.
We look forward to more students from Burgettstown high school progressing through our Inventionland Innovation Course! Are you interested in bringing innovation to your school? Contact us today.