These are my notes from the end of Jeff Downs’ presentation on August 3, 2012, at OSU-OKC during a meeting of the Oklahoma Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. I arrived to this meeting late so I just caught the end of Jeff’s comments as well as the Q&A time. I’ve added links, images and referenced/related videos to this post.

Comments by Jeff Downs, Executive Director of STEM for the Oklahoma State Department of Education
405-521-2107
jeff [dot] downs [at] sde.ok.gov

I want to see STEM PD (professional development) Academies in Oklahoma, new professional development centers where we can train teachers

Do you know about Ron Clark Academy? Look for YouTube videos of it, he has reinvented how education happens in those schools and the results are great

Where do we find STEM in Oklahoma?
- Gateway Middle School: Project Lead the Way
- (about 20 other school names listed)
- getting kids excited about science, math and technology
- we have Robotics in schools like Memorial High School in Tulsa

Project Lead the Way

Bio-medical partnerships are vital

OSDE STEM Timeline

I’ve been in my position for 7 months, since December
- we’ve created STEM department at OSDE
- science, math, instructional technology, Ag in the classroom and PD delivery system departments are all under me

Feb – April 2012: State Board approved OEMS certification
- OEMS = Oklahoma Elementary Math Specialist Certificate
- this is a building block to help our elementary teachers become more comfortable teaching math
- we’ve found many Oklahoma elementary teachers
- Are doing site visits to STEM programs at

MY COMMENT: HERE IS THE OEMS PROGRAM DESCRIPTION FROM THE OK REGENT’S WEBSITE:

Oklahoma Elementary Mathematics Specialist (OEMS) is a process that allows elementary and/or early childhood teachers to earn an elementary mathematics specialist certification in grades PK-5. The certification process and requirement was approved by the Oklahoma State Department of Education during its Feb. 23, 2012, board meeting. Now more than ever, teachers need to have vital tools to meet the needs of Common Core State Standards’ rigors and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers’ (PARCC) in-depth assessments, which Oklahoma has adopted to implement in 2014. OEMS professionals must know and understand elementary school mathematics as well as how mathematics concepts and skills develop through the secondary level. This includes specialized knowledge that teachers need in order to understand and support student learning of elementary mathematics. OEMS professionals also need to be prepared to take on collegial non-evaluative leadership roles within their schools and districts. They must have a broad view of many aspects and resources needed to support and facilitate effective instruction and professional growth.

We have a program “Think Through Math” as online program to students
- we are rolling this out to 10,000 students in the state
- a supplement to get kids Algebra ready
- this program is going statewide on Sept 1, we are buying 45,000 seats for students

(SEE THIS SDE PRESS RELEASE FOR A BIT MORE INFO)

Think Through Math - Okahoma SDE

Vision 2020 Conference
- General Ben Robinson was our keynote
- Dr Steven McKiever (?) from OSU was there
- students directed professional development for our teachers

MY COMMENT: SOME SESSIONS FROM VISION 2020 ARE ARCHIVED ONLINE AND AVAILABLE VIA THE SDE’S iTUNESU CHANNEL

OKSDE - Vision 2020 Conference

Currently got elementary and secondary math director positions created
- previously we just had 1 person, and they were primarily secondary minded

Partnership with OSF and Instructional Technology Director
- the instructional tech director will be focused on helping teachers integrate technology effectively in the classroom

MY COMMENT: THAT JOB DESCRIPTION AND APPLICATION IS AVAILABLE ON THE SDE’S WEBSITE ALONG WITH OTHERS

I am playing a major role in screening, interviewing and recommending 60 REAC3H instructional coaches

Beginning process of reviewing and adopting OK C3 standards
- Tiffany Neil is science director, she is convening committees now to review our standards

18 hours of math training in elementary mathematics for the new certification
- will be in fall catalogs

I ASKED JEFF IN THE Q&A TIME IF HE IS WORKING WITH ANY OF OUR 1:1 LAPTOP SCHOOLS IN OKLAHOMA AND HOW HE SEES STEM INITIATIVES WORKING WITH OUR 1:1 SCHOOLS
- he answered that technology is really important, new PARCC tests that students will be taking are really challenging and many of our schools are not ready for them

We need to test kids the way we are teaching
- we need to figure out how to test project based environments

MY COMMENT: HERE IS A PDF OF PRESENTATION SLIDES JEFF SHARED ABOUT STEM IN OKLAHOMA EDUCATION IN FEBRUARY 2012. THESE WERE NOT THE SLIDES HE SHARED TODAY BUT PROVIDE SOME ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND ABOUT STATE STEM FOCUS IN OUR STATE.

'What is the future of STEM education in the U.S.?' photo (c) 2011, opensource.com - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

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