Through a partnership between the Orange County Department of Education and the Orange County STEM Initiative (OC STEM), the Lead STEM Practitioner (LSP) Network has been developed to engage a strong cadre of teacher/leaders to become the conduits of information for their respective districts regarding new, innovative work happening in STEM education globally, nationally and locally. This interconnected community of practice with influence and collective knowledge, is far greater than the sum of its parts. As a cohesive group, the LSPs work together to build leadership capacity, promote content mastery and instill research-based pedagogical tools that will equip Orange County Schools with the ability to implement a hands-on inquiry-based instructional program that will provide rigorous 21st century STEM learning opportunities for students.

 Appointments: This past fall, each K-5, K-6 or K-8 district had the opportunity to nominate one teacher, selected from grades 3-8, to be their district’s representative in the Orange County Lead STEM Practitioner Network.  Each K-12 district had the opportunity to nominate two teachers; one selected from grades 3-8 and one from grades 9-12.  Each Lead STEM Practitioner will receive a $1,000 honorarium for their participation which is presented by the Orange County STEM Initiative.  This public/private partnership is an exemplary program that personifies our county’s forward momentum around science, technology, engineering and math education.

Selection Criteria: Selection for Lead STEM Practitioner are usually made from either highly motivated classroom teachers or Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs) who are highly dedicated, respected by his/her peers and eager to engage in learning about the latest research and strategies around the delivery of STEM education.  Lead STEM Practitioners are required to attend 5 meetings per year and are expected to complete the following deliverables:

  • Participate in all 5 LSP meetings
  • Create a STEM contact at each site in the district
  • Create a STEM asset map for the district to be added to the overall countywide map
  • Participate on their districts STEM Ecosystem Team (if the district is participating in the OC STEM Ecosystem Institute)
  • Disseminate information from the LSP meetings out to the district contacts
  • Deliver a minimum of two or more presentation to peers on engaging strategies for STEM education
  • Create a video log of his/her experience to be shared at the end of the year celebration

So far this year the LSP’s have gathered together at the Crystal Cove Education Center to kick of the year with networking and STEM team building activities, they’ve also participated in watching CODE: Debugging The Gender Gap with follow up discussion around motivating girls in STEM and most recently spent an evening at ExplorOcean in the Makerspace along with guest speaker Mark Castruita from Broadcom.  Check out the list of this year’s Lead STEM Practitioners here.