CHATHAM, NJ – School is out for the summer, but teachers in the School District of the Chathams take no vacation from learning in order to find new ways to integrate STEM concepts and activities into the classroom.
In late spring, The Chatham Education Foundation (CEF) approved a grant renewal for the STEM Summer Teacher Institute for K-5 teachers, led by 4th grade Lafayette teacher Shay Coleman and a consortium of other Chatham elementary teachers. As part of her efforts to bring the latest in science, engineering, technology and math to Chatham students – well before the buzzword of STEM had taken hold in the media - Mrs. Coleman has long embraced a teaching philosophy that encourages students to develop a lifelong love of learning in these areas.
More recently, she has also taken a proactive role in sharing this philosophy with her colleagues through professional development.
This year, the STEM Summer Teacher Institute had 25 Chatham teachers in attendance, tripling the number of Chatham teachers from last year’s pilot program. The goal of the STEM Summer Teacher Institute is to empower elementary teachers to create, collaborate and share best practices around teaching STEM.
Through classroom sessions and workshops, teachers were provided resources and lesson ideas to integrate STEM concepts and activities into the classroom to create a community of active student learners. “The teachers were excited to incorporate Problem Based Learning – when students learn about a subject through the experience of problem solving - in their lessons/activities,” Mrs. Coleman said. “And STEM concepts can be integrated into all subject areas, including Language Arts, allowing our students to make even more connections that they can use in everyday life.” 
This was the second year CEF has provided financial support for the program. Other supporters of the program include Global Learning, Inc., a non-profit educational organization, Fairleigh Dickinson University's School of Pharmacy, and Cornell University. In addition to incorporating the learnings from the Institute in their classrooms, teachers at Lafayette School are participating in research and grant development with Cornell University in coordination with the STEM Summer Teacher Institute that will continue into the 2014 - 2015 school year.CEF is proud to support our teachers for their professional development efforts and for their continued efforts to reach higher!
About The Chatham Education Foundation 
Since 1997, The Chatham Education Foundation has been the leading provider of private funding to the School District of the Chathams, for all K-12 students enrolled in the District’s six public schools. Through the generosity of its supporters, it supports innovative and creative educational programs and projects, which would otherwise not be able to be funded through the traditional school budget.