STEM educators to receive awards

Educators in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, known collectively as STEM, will be honored with a new award launched by Dart’s Minds Inspired program.

On Friday, May 25, 30 STEM educators, school principals and partners in education gathered at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands to hear about the new award – the Dart Minds Inspired Award for Excellence in Teaching STEM – which will launch at the start of the 2018 academic year.

According to the Dart group, the goal of the award is to support and encourage the growth of STEM in Cayman by rewarding and recognizing excellence in teaching STEM, and providing school grants to purchase STEM-related resources.

“The demand for STEM professionals is expected to increase by 20 percent over the next 10 years, giving students who are proficient in STEM subjects an advantage when entering the world of work. As a result, schools are being challenged to have robust STEM programs and to employ teachers who are able to develop student interest in STEM through innovative teaching methods,” a press release on the award noted.

Dart CEO Mark VanDevelde said: “STEM classes teach more than the subjects being studied; they are a meaningful way for students to learn collaboration, critical thinking, communication and creativity; skills that are vital for success in today’s workplace.”

The award will recognize primary and secondary teachers of STEM subjects from public or private schools in the Cayman Islands.

A teacher may not self-nominate or be nominated by a spouse or relative. Another teacher, department head or principal can nominate a teacher for the award.

Once nominated, teachers must confirm their intent to participate, and will be assessed by a panel of judges who will then select two recipients (primary and high school) annually. The inaugural honorees will be announced in February 2019.

Award recipients will receive a trip for themselves and a companion to a STEM conference, inclusive of airfare and accommodations, and a $1,000 cash award. The awardees’ school also receives recognition and a cash grant of $3,000 to be used toward STEM educational resources within the classroom.

Nomination forms and guidelines will be posted on the Minds Inspired website, www.mindsinspired.ky on or before Aug. 1. Nominations will open on Sept. 1 and close on Jan. 31, 2019.