Our Schools

Indicator ST1.3

Indicator ST1.3: Students are empowered to personalize and self-direct their STEM learning experiences supported by STEM educators who facilitate their learning.

Rating: 3


Narrative: Spring Valley teachers provide students with frequent opportunities to personalize and self-direct their STEM learning experiences and learning processes. Examples of inquiry lessons can be seen in assignments across the curriculum. Given general guidelines by their teacher, geography students must think critically, evaluate, and synthesize in maintaining blogs for the duration of the course. Given a design brief, engineering students must document in a portfolio their creation of a puzzle cubes. The students must brainstorm, design the cube in Autodesk Inventor, create the cube, and test the cube for validity. Physical science students are asked to determine ways in which a sugar cube can quickly be dissolved in water. They must show evidence through data. Math students must conduct research to determine whether the U.S. Presidential elections should be determined by popular or electoral votes. After gathering data, students use math and graphing skills and make oral presentations to defend their answers. Without previous instruction, Biology 1 students were tasked with figuring out what a buffer is by gathering data using Labquest 2 and Vernier probes and write a lab report collaboratively using an online graphing tool to display data. Sports medicine students choose topics to research in order to produce public service posters. Students also have the option to take up to two free virtual courses per semester through either Richland Two Virtual or VirtualSC
 
Our teachers provide a great deal of support for students as self-directed learners. Many regularly use their school websites, Google Classroom, while others use Edmodo, Nearpod, Blendspace, and Pear Deck – these digital platforms provide students with organized and ongoing accessibility to course materials. A number of teachers schedule online evening “office hours” through email, chat, or a variety of apps, thus enabling them to provide extra learning opportunities, feedback, and remediation to individual students. Students can also take advantage of teachers’ scheduled tutoring time in their classrooms before school, during lunch, or after school each day. All teachers are required to post weekly lesson plans on their websites, along with a Google calendar that notes tests and major assignments. In addition, many teachers also provide on-line tutorials (IXL, USA Test Prep), teacher-produced videos, student-produced videos, podcasts, and indices of websites to support student success. 
 
Students can also personalize their STEM learning experiences by choices made outside the classrooms. For example, the Spring Valley’s Robotics Club, Skills USA, and all of our other extra-curricular organizations are open to all students who choose to participate. We offer free tutoring in our Tutoring & Testing Center, which is staffed with National Honor Society peer tutors throughput the day and teachers after school. In addition, any student can be matched for tutoring in a particular course with a peer tutor at TutorIn, an app developed by an SVH student that allows tutors to indicate courses they have the expertise to tutor and students in need to be matched to that peer expert. 

In our College/Career Information Center students can take career interest inventories and receive help with college and scholarship applications. In addition, students can choose to attend the Mu Alpha Theta EOC Review or other sessions offered for standardized testing. Students have opportunities to extend their learning through internships (Explorations and Career Prep students and Teacher Cadets), job shadowing, and work-based learning.