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HSSP Pilot Site: Yuma Elementary School
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In the News


Yuma District One honored for its self-built technology program


Article in the Yuma Sun about iTEAM KiDS


Feature in District Administration magazine about iTEAM KiDS



Connections to the STEM Ecosystem


Our Story Begins...

Yuma Elementary School District is a large rural school district with seventeen elementary schools in the Yuma area. Through this program they would like to expand their current STEAM programs ("A” = agriculture) into all seventeen of their schools. This will include creating resources for all 5-8th grade teachers to integrate into their classroom to expand the integration of project based STEM, Common Core, and Next Generation Science skills. In addition they will create a resource bank of STEM activities that will be available district-wide and they will provide a series of teachers will extensive training in STEM, and provide additional resources for students to use as they work through these new activities.

The iTEAM Kids - Go STEM!

"At the heart of our STEM initiative in Yuma Elementary School District is professional development spanning grades 5-8 at ten schools and completing a district-wide science and technology initiative. Teachers in both middle school and elementary collaborated, connected, and grew deeper in knowledge and pedagogy. iPads and science equipment fostered student exploration with apps that made science come alive in the 21st century. In an age of accountability that focuses heavily on ELA and Math, science within our STEM initiative has energized momentum. At the elementary level we have experienced a return to science instruction and watching kids explore scientific concepts. With the added technology we hear the expressions of "Wow!", "That's awesome!", and "Cool!" from students across the district. All this comes with our great appreciation for the support from Sara Torres, the Helios Foundation and Science Foundation Arizona."
- Duane Sheppard, Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

In the End...

As one of two district-wide implementations in the Helios STEM School Pilot (HSSP), Yuma District One has a unique and exciting position. The effort has been district-wide because it joins the resources of the HSSP with a mirror grant from the Department of Defense Education Agency (DoDEA). Through this coordinated funding, we have begun to change our STEM culture, deepen science instruction, and use technology as an integral tool for fifth through eighth graders in our seventeen schools. Our commitment is to grow in each and every one of our students the science literacy necessary for responsible citizenship and keep them on track for success in post-secondary science education.

We have included these major components:

  • An elementary science teacher cadre made up of one teacher per grade level from each school. Cadre members participated in eight three-hour professional development sessions annually and were responsible for sharing their learning with all grade-level teachers at their schools.
  • Substitutes provided monthly for cadre members to model or team-teach science lessons developed by the cadre to all classes at their grade level.
  • Four days annually of professional development for all middle-school science teachers. Emphasis in Years 1 and 2 was on integration of science with math, social studies, and English Language Arts. Emphasis in Year 3 was on technology integration, differentiating instruction, and the "5-E” lesson model.
  • Integrating technology into science instruction through purchasing interactive white boards and individual iPads.
  • Supporting effective technology use through the iTEAM KiDS—trained students at each school who can support teachers and other students with a wide variety of technology and applications. iTEAM KiDS present sessions at the annual district-wide Professional Development Day, present training to their own school staffs, and presented to a national audience at the January Integrate to Innovate conference in Phoenix.
  • Developing community resources for bringing science alive for our students.

During the life of the HSSP grant, major results have included:
  • In the 2015-2016 school year, adoption of a district-wide one-to-one iPad initiative, funded through a local bond initiative. Two years of iPad experience through the HSSP and DoDEA grants greatly contributed to teacher support for this initiative and willingness to grow their own expertise with personalized learning.
  • District benchmark test scores which suggest that the longer students were exposed to the elementary cadre model, the greater their growth in science
  • National recognition as a District of Distinction by District Administration magazine in March 2016, specifically for the iTEAM KiDS program.
  • A district-wide culture change in emphasis on science and technology, including involvement of numerous local STEM experts.


The iTEAM Kids teaching how to use iPads

Visit more Sites... To learn more about the HSSP sites, click on the images below.

  • Altar Valley ESD

  • Alhambra ESD

  • Bagdad USD

  • Congress ESD

  • Salt River Elementary School

  • W.F. Killip Elementary School

  • Yuma ESD

  • The HELIOS STEM Schools Journey

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