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FWCS moving to more challenging STEM program at Irwin Elementary

August 17th, 2017

By Kevin Kilbane | The News-Sentinel

Irwin Elementary School will develop and implement a more challenging Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program over the next three years through a $266,000 contract with Discovery Education.

The Fort Wayne Community Schools board of school trustees approved the contract during their meeting Monday night at Grile Administrative Center.

Discovery Education provides standards-based digital textbooks and multimedia content for students in kindergarten through grade 12, it said on the company's website, The company also provides professional training for teachers.

Discovery Education's services are used in half of U.S. classrooms and in more than 50 countries worldwide, the website said.

The Discovery Education approach emphasizes lessons involving creativity and problem-solving, project-based learning that works toward solutions to real-world problems, and exposing students to STEM careers, board members were told

Working with Discovery Education will "pump up" the program at Irwin, FWCS superintendent Wendy Robinson said.

The school has been math and science magnet school since 1989. Students must apply to enroll there through FWCS' school choice lottery.

Irwin will develop and implement the Discovery Education program over three years, Robinson said.

"It's a process," she told board members. "There will not be dramatic differences on the first day."

FWCS students started school today.

This school year, Irwin staff will lay the foundation for the program and discuss it with students and staff, board members were told. The second year will focus on developing the project-based learning, while the third year will be devoted to helping teachers learn how to teach STEM concepts across all school subjects and grade levels.