Established STEM School

Gov. Lombardo Honors Empire Elementary as ‘Established STEM School’
Posted on 05/18/2023
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Carson City School District teachers and administrators from Empire Elementary School were honored by Governor Joe Lombardo and the Governor’s Office of Science Innovation and Technology (OSIT) Tuesday, May 16, 2023, in the Old Assembly Chambers in the Nevada Capitol building. The ceremony recognized Empire Elementary School for advancing from a “Developing STEM School” to an “Established STEM School.”

The ceremony recognized Empire Elementary along with other several other STEM schools in the state. Empire Elementary School was first honored as a Designated STEM School back in September of 2020.

Seven teachers at Empire Elementary were among the first in the state to receive a National Certification in STEM Teaching as part of a cohort of 35 teachers in partnership with the OSIT and the National Institute for STEM Education (NISE). These teachers collaborated throughout the year using a competency-based and academic coach-led online learning platform. They each produced a portfolio of work that demonstrates proficiency across 38 STEM indicators. While these indicators are focused on STEM, they highly align with the standards and indicators for the Nevada Educator Performance Framework (NEPF). This work not only helped the educators strengthen their practices and improve instruction in their own classrooms, but they also shared their learning with other colleagues throughout their school.

On May 4, 2023, OSIT did a site-wide evaluation of Empire Elementary School visiting classrooms, observing lessons and talking with students. The school was evaluated using the Nevada STEM Framework rubric in hopes of moving from a Governor’s Designated “Developing STEM School” to an “Established STEM school.” To qualify for an Established School, the total points on the rubric must be between 80-114. Empire received a score of 108, which moved them to an “Established STEM School” status.

Designation as a Governor's STEM School denotes that the school meets the highest standards of STEM instruction and is a model for schools around the state. For parents and the community, the designation also communicates the level of high-quality STEM education that can be expected at the school.

“Empire is dedicated to continuing the work of improving practices in order to bring the highest quality of education and instruction to students,” said Adrienne Wiggins, K-5 Computer Science teacher and STEM coordinator at Empire Elementary School. “Empire received two grants that will support this growth. Awarded $25,000 from the OSIT, the school will partner with the NISE to work towards a National Certificate in STEM Excellence. As part of this partnership, Empire will have 11 more teachers working towards their National Certification in STEM Teaching.”

Empire also received a grant from Project Lead the Way for $13,900 to train and support their entire staff in implementing an Integrated Project Based Learning approach, Wiggins continued.

“We would like to thank these two organizations, along with the dedication and hard work of the staff and the community and partnerships that support the school’s work,” said Shelby Tuttle, principal of Empire Elementary School. “These opportunities have helped Empire to the next level.”