The Leonard Gelfand STEM Center

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School and District Services

Unlike many university STEM Centers, the Gelfand STEM Center rarely offers programs for a general audience of teachers, principals, or school administrators. Instead, we work directly with individual school and district staff to build customized, intensive, and sustained programs that address specific needs. We believe deep learning and systemic change can take place only when adequate time, resources, and commitment are dedicated to the task; as a result, we invest our energy into fewer, but highly impactful, initiatives.

Much of this work has been developed through collaborations with school teachers and district administrators, Case Western Reserve University faculty, and organizations such as the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC), National Science Foundation (NSF), Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Museum of Science Boston, and others.

Science/STEM Program Review  

For schools interested in systemically improving their science or STEM program, an assessment of where the program is currently is often the best first step. Gelfand STEM Center staff have conducted comprehensive, standards-based reviews in more than 30 schools throughout the midwest. The process varies slightly from school to school, but typically involves one or more reviewers on site for several days and includes facilitated focus groups with program stakeholders (students, teachers, parents, and administrators), classroom observations, analysis of student performance, and curriculum alignment with best practices in science education.

To be clear, the goal for this process is improvement, not evaluation.  Findings are reported in aggregate to protect the anonymity of all involved with the science program. A summary report includes observations, conclusions drawn from multiple data sources, and a series of recommendations for program improvement.

The cost of the service is $500 per reviewer per day in the building, $1,750 for each building report, and $1,000 for each district summary report (if applicable).

For further information on the process or to review a sample report, please contact us at gelfand@case.edu or (216) 368-5289.

Strategic Planning

Schools and districts committed to enduring change in the way science is taught and learned often incorporate the findings of a science/STEM program review into a strategic plan. Although not all schools need a science/STEM program review, every school and district needs a strategic plan that lays out a realistic pathway to achieve their program goals. The strategic planning process provides an opportunity for schools and districts to think carefully about the goals they have for their students and how curriculum, teacher professional development, assessment, and community partners need to be aligned to achieve those goals.

The Gelfand STEM Center refers schools or districts interested in developing a strategic plan to the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC). The SSEC’s LASER model has been validated in both small scale studies with single schools as well as large scale studies with districts in excess of 200,000 students. Center staff, working through the SSEC, have facilitated plans with schools and districts in New Mexico, North Carolina, Maryland, Tennessee, and northeast Ohio as part of the SSEC Strategic Planning Institute.

For more information and pricing, contact jxb14@case.edu or call (216) 368-5289.

Teacher Professional Development

Gelfand STEM Center teacher professional development programs are the result of collaboration between the Center, school and district teachers and administrators, university faculty, and community partners. While each program is customized to the specific needs of the school or district, they are all intensive, hands-on, inquiry based, and rooted in best practices in STEM education. Many of the programs shown below were developed with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Abington Foundation, Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, Ohio Department of Education, Ohio Environmental Education Fund, and private donors.

For further information on any of the programs listed below or to discuss a professional development need for your school or district, contact jxb14@case.edu or call (216) 368-5289.

STEM Spaces

The Center mobilizes the expertise of think[box] staff and other university resources to provide guidance to schools developing digital fabrication, maker, or laboratory spaces.

Gelfand STEM Army/Campus Visits

The Center coordinates a pool of CWRU undergraduate students who are trained to participate in science, engineering, and/or math nights, do science and engineering demonstrations, and support pre-college STEM programs on campus and in the community. These volunteers also organize campus visits for school and youth groups. While on campus, students sit in on classes, tour facilities, and interact with CWRU faculty, students and staff.

Page last modified: November 14, 2017