UWF in the Community

UWF CORAL Center, Santa Rosa schools renew STEAM partnership

Program to expand to new schools for 2016-17 academic year

The University of West Florida Community Outreach Research and Learning Center has begun its second year evaluating the Santa Rosa County School District’s “STEAM Innovate!” program, a five-year plan to infuse more science, technology, engineering, arts and math into the curriculum.

The initiative began with 20 elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school during the 2015-16 school year. For the 2016-17 school year, the program expanded into five additional middle and high schools.

To foster a culture of teaching and learning innovation, the Santa Rosa district has contracted with Discovery Education, a digital education company, to transform the curriculum through a STEAM Leader Corps throughout the district. The corps will consist of 125 teachers, more than 6,000 students and multiple community business partners. Teachers involved in the corps will share what is going on in their classrooms with other district instructors with the eventual goal of encompassing the entire system to produce tech-proficient graduates who can take these skills into the workplace.

Dr. Carla Thompson

The UWF evaluation personnel headed by Dr. Carla Thompson and Dr. Diane Bagwell includes Ed.D. candidates Kym Atwood, Timothy Sowers and Maureen Howard. Also on the evaluation team are Candy Hurst, a UWF alumna, and Dr. Lesley Leonard, a UWF adjunct faculty member. They will collect data from more than 900 classrooms in 25 schools. A report analyzing the outcome will be delivered to Santa Rose officials and other stakeholders during summer 2017.

The STEAM program is part of a partnership between the University and Santa Rosa County schools that dates back a decade. During that time, University researchers have connected with the schools through multiple programs designed to gather data on how to improve K-12 education.

“This mutually beneficial partnership with Santa Rosa schools assists the district, the community, UWF doctoral students, alumni and faculty, thereby reflecting the mission of the CORAL Center, the UWF College of Education and Professional Studies and the University,” Thompson said.

For more information about the UWF Community Outreach Research and Learning Center, visit uwf.edu/coral.