New Elementary STEM Teachers Join the JPS Team!

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This summer we will feature some 2014 – 2015 school year highlights as well as some of the exciting things that Jenison Public Schools are doing throughout the summer!  Please join us each week to discover something new and celebrate a fantastic and exciting school year!

This fall, our elementary students will see some new faces around the halls and have the opportunity to enjoy 50 minutes of Science, Technology, Engineering, Math –  or STEM – as part of their weekly “Special” rotation.  Just as students experience art, gym, music, library and Spanish each week they will be spending this dedicated time focusing on STEM subjects.

Here to lead students into the exciting world of experiments, collaborative problem solving and hands-on projects are five teachers [3 of whom are brand new to Jenison Public Schools] who are already looking forward to getting to know students and encouraging them to learn more about and possibly consider a future with one of these subjects.

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Junior High Science Teacher Holly McGoran, Jen Tolson, Jeana Duimstra, Jon Scholma, Kendall Grazul + Rachael Tans

Welcoming for the first time to JPS:
Jon Scholma joins us from Grandville Christian where he taught 4th grade for 8 years.  Rachael Tans taught 7th and 8th grade science for four years at Eaglecrest in Holland and Kendall Grazul taught 6th grade science for five years in Homer, MI.  [That’s by Jackson!] 

Adding to Current JPS Responsibilities:
Jen Tolson who taught 6th grade math and science for twelve years before moving to her other specialty — Phys Ed — for five years.  Jen will continue to teach gym at Bauerwood but will add STEM to her schedule, something she is very excited to do.  Jeana Duimstra has been teaching 5th, 6th and 2nd grades at Rosewood and will switch to part time STEM teaching.

MIII6604 copyThe STEM program at Jenison is unique as it is the first of its kind to focus on the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math as a concentrated special.  But STEM is much more than memorizing the periodic table and the names of planets.  STEM will provide students with the opportunity to develop hypotheses, question outcomes, perform team experiments and, ultimately, the skills they acquire will carry into their regular classrooms, junior high, high school and well beyond.  As students explore different — and likely, new — topics they may find themselves considering a particular career path but even more immediately, conquering the necessary problem-solving skills required in every day life.

“Curriculum standards now are changing from content to process whether it’s math or science, they’re all asking kids to know the process of learning more so this should hit that well.”  — Jeana Duimstra

“While it is almost impossible to list every discipline, some common STEM areas include: aerospace engineering, astrophysics, astronomy, biochemistry, biomechanics, chemical engineering, chemistry, civil engineering, computer science, mathematical biology, neurobiology, nuclear physics, physics, and robotics, among many, many others. As evidenced by the multitude of disciplines, it’s clear that STEM fields affect virtually every component of our everyday lives.”*

“What we’re going to be doing [with STEM] is going to be helpful for everyone…our kids will be better learners all around.”  -Kendall Grazul

Welcome to the team and we’re already looking forward to seeing how the STEM program will positively impact our students!

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*Courtesy of teach.com

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