JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL)- Johnson City School leaders are creating a bus unlike any other in our region. This bus is aimed at getting kids up to state standards and ready for the workforce, all while having some fun.
In recent years states including Tennessee have made “STEAM” a big focus in education-science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.
“One of the pieces that’s been missing in our district for a while has been an opportunity and a place for students to have those hands on experiences,” Dr. David Timbs, supervisor of secondary and instructional technology for Johnson City Schools said.
When the Johnson City Board of Education asked to put STEAM space in every school, it sparked an idea.
“Instead of having this expensive technology in every school that may or may not be used every day why not put it on a bus that can go around to each elementary school,” Amy Stover, with the Johnson City Public School Foundation said.
The hope is to save the the schools money on expanding space and buying technology. The Johnson City Public School Foundation is a nonprofit, community-based foundation established “specifically to fund innovative programs and activities not provided in the system’s operating budget to enhance learning experiences for students and teachers in the Johnson City School System.”
Right now administrators are asking some third and fourth grade teachers to, “Dream big and design modules that you just really wish you could do with your students in the classroom but you just don’t have the materials or the space to conduct those experiments and those hands on lessons,” Timbs said.
Throughout spring of 2018 teachers will design the lessons. Meanwhile, career technology students at Science Hill High School will design the interior of the bus. Then the Johnson City Public School Foundation will buy the materials needed to make it happen.
“We’ll have these modules set up and ready to go lessons all the teacher has to do is bring their kids on the bus and teach the lesson,” Stover said.
“We may have everything from learning how to code robots, we may have everything from learning how to design and print in 3D, we definitely will have some environmental science modules to go along with what it takes to be green,” Timbs said.
The school system is also partnering with local businesses.
“We can have the modules actually reflect the skills of the employees they are seeking to fill positions within their business,” Timbs said.
The goal by fall of 2018 is to have a bus with alternating STEAM experiences and cutting edge technology traveling throughout Johnson City’s eight elementary schools, with little cost to the school system.
The Johnson City Public Schools Foundation is fundraising to make it all happen. You can visit their website www.jcschools.org/foundation for more information.
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