ACE-STEM Summer Institute 2023

Summer Institute Day 1, Tuesday June 20

ACE-STEM Summer Institute 2023 kicked off with an inspiring video message from Dr. Lynmara Colon to greet our ACE-STEM cohort teachers, mentor coaches, and school leaders from PWCS and beyond (Winchester Public Schools and Manassas Park City Schools)! More inspiration followed in uplifting presentations by our keynote speaker principals—Mr. Inmar Romero and Ms. Lisamarie Kane. Other PWCS leaders–Ms. Lisa Manikas, Dr. Eileen Lockhart, Dr. Charmelle Ackins, and Mr. Christopher Tsang—joined Mr. Romero and Ms. Kane on a panel to share their vision and extensive efforts to work for equity for multilingual learners and families in PWCS schools!

After thoughtful discussions in small groups during our working lunch, we were treated to an exciting presentation by 5 staff members from Pattie Elementary School, including 2 of our cohort teachers—Ms. Stephanie ​Schwier and Ms. Megan Martin—who shared their collaboration to bring about A Story of Change: Bringing Authentic, Cohesive, and Rigorous Learning Experiences to All Students. Many thanks to Ms. Shannon Foremny, Mr. Rob Harrington, and Mr. Robert Lucciotti (principal) for joining us today to share this incredible story of what can happen when teachers and school leaders create the changes that bring equity to life in schools!

Following that inspirational story, everyone enjoyed poster presentations by 10 ACE-STEM cohort teachers who provided a snapshot of the meaningful research and work they have engaged in over the last year. Presenters were:
Ms. Tamara Zimmerman and Ms. Kerri Hallman
Ms. Kenya Miles
Ms. Nancy Schieda and Joanna Gushee
Ms. Shayna Russo
Ms. Liz Hernandez and Ms. Mindy Cuevas Neira
Ms. Michelle Collier-Menezes
Mr. Matthew Walker

Day 1 concluded with a workshop on proposal writing for family engagement initiatives and a school leaders discussion group. Thanks to all who worked so hard to make Day 1 of ACE-STEM Summer Insitute 2023 a huge success and to our attendees whose engagement and enthusiasm made the day a fantastic one!

Summer Institute Day 2, Wednesday June 21

Day 2 of ACE-STEM SI 2023 began with dreary, soggy weather outside that did not dampen the energy and enthusiasm inside with over 150 educator participants! Many in-service and preservice teachers, along with school leaders, joined our PWCS cohort teachers and mentor coaches for a dynamic day of learning and interaction around key topics in STEM Education for multilingual learners. Dr. Woomee Kim, ACE-STEM SI facilitator extraordinaire, kept spirits bright throughout the day with humor and uplifting comments! Dr. Sujin Kim, ACE-STEM Project Director, welcomed the audience and expressed appreciation for the care and commitment that educators offer to multilingual learners each and every day. Dr. Ingrid Guerra López, Dean of the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), shared a video greeting with encouragement for the critical work that educators do, noting the importance of apprenticing PK-12 multilingual learners for success in STEM and all content areas. 

Next, Dr. Zandra De Araujo, Chief Equity Officer and Mathematics Principal at the University of Florida Lastinger Center, delivered an interactive, inspiring keynote address/workshop entitled Aligning Our Beliefs and Actions in the Mathematics Classroom. We were guided to engage collaboratively in real-world math problems to share our thinking about putting core principles in mathematics instruction that support all learners in developing the habits and mindsets of mathematicians into action in classroom practices.  

From there, Day 2 participants enjoyed the opportunity to discuss their takeaways from Dr. De Araujo’s presentation and share applications for their teaching context over a delicious lunch.  

Two of Mason’s own CEHD faculty, Dr. Anya Evmenova and Dr. Jered Borup, energized the audience with a lively presentation focused on the way that digital technologies can be applied to deliver instruction using a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, making learning and multiliteracies accessible for all. 

Next, participants had the choice to attend two of four 50-minute, interactive workshops delivered by Dr. Araujo, Dr. Evmenova, Dr. Ramos and Dr. Zhao (ACE-STEM faculty), and special guests, local ESOL educators Ms. Katie Miller and Ms. Holly Sawyer. Ms. Miller is a high school ESOL Department chair and STEM educator and has served as past president of Maryland TESOL. Ms. Sawyer is a National Board-Certified Teacher and secondary ESOL teacher in Chesapeake, VA, who advocates for the integration of computer science learning and English language development with multilingual learners. Workshop Options included: 

Ms. Katie Miller and Ms. Holly Sawyer  
Try, Fail, Succeed, Repeat: Building Confidence, Taking Risks in STEM  

Dr. Kathleen Ramos and Dr. Manqian Zhao  
Content-Language Integration: Beyond Academic Vocabulary 

Dr. Zandra De Araujo  
More Language, More Math  
Dr. Anya Evmenova  
Supporting ALL Learners with Universal Design for Learning  

The day concluded with reflection on learning and an opportunity for attendees to provide feedback on their learning experience. It was still raining when we left, but our hearts and minds were filled with inspirational knowledge to ponder during summer days to come! 

Summer Institute Day 3, Wednesday June 22

Day 3 of the ACE-STEM SI 2023 kicked off with the same group of enthusiastic teachers who were eager to delve into innovative educational research and its practical implementation in the classroom. Dr. Woomee Kim, the extraordinary facilitator of ACE-STEM SI, shared some memorable moments from the previous two days, inspiring and cheering on the audience as she always does. 

The morning continued with a captivating keynote address/workshop by Dr. Kate Seltzer, an assistant professor of bilingual and ESL education at Rowan University. Her interactive session, titled “Following La Corriente of Translanguaging: Shifts in Perspective and Practice for Emergent Bilingual Students,” delved into the Translanguaging pedagogy and its application in real classrooms. 

Following this, during a delightful lunch, Day 3 participants had the opportunity to discuss and share their key takeaways from Dr. Kate Seltzer’s presentation and explore its relevance to their teaching contexts. 

Next, Dr. Joan Kang Shin, ACE-STEM CO-PI and professor at Mason, delivered a highly engaging presentation titled “Teaching English Through International Children’s Songs: A Global Approach.” This session offered multimodal strategies for teaching literacy, language, and content to multilingual learners. 

Subsequently, participants had the chance to choose two out of four 50-minute interactive workshops delivered by Dr. Seltzer, Dr. Shin, Dr. Borup, and Dr. Zhao. The workshop options included: 

Dr. Kate Seltzer  
Translating a Critical Translanguaging Stance into Classroom Ecology and Practice

Dr. Jered Borup
Empowering STEM Education for English Learners with Generative AI: Opportunities, Challenges, and Ethical Considerations

Dr. Joan Kang Shin  
Media Literacy Education for Communication in our Multimodal World 
Dr. Manqian Zhao
I’m not a picky eater’ – Developing a Nutrition Lesson Unit for Primary Grade Multilingual Learners

The day concluded with reflection on the learning experiences and an opportunity for attendees to provide feedback. All the teachers left feeling motivated and encouraged by the past two days of the Summer Institute, and fortunately, the rain had stopped. 

Summer Institute Day 4, Thursday June 23

The final half-day of the ACE-STEM SI 2023 was dedicated to fostering reflection and introducing new software to enhance the support for future courses in the ACE-STEM program involving Cohort teachers and Mentor Coaches.

Dr. Woomee Kim, the exceptional facilitator of ACE-STEM SI, warmly welcomed everyone and motivated our ACE-STEM participants for the half-day of learning ahead. 

Ms. Jessica Hudley joined virtually to demonstrate the usage of the GoReact software, which will be utilized in the upcoming ACE-STEM courses. 

Following that, Dr. Woomee Kim conducted a workshop for Cohort teachers, guiding them in the development of their E-Portfolios. Meanwhile, Mentor Coaches gathered with Dr. Sujin Kim and Dr. Manqian Zhao to share their perspectives on better supporting the Cohort teachers in their roles as Mentor Coaches. 

During lunch, Cohort teachers had the opportunity to socialize and collaborate with their Mentor Coaches, engaging in discussions about the upcoming course assignments and any additional support they might require.

The day concluded with reflection on the learning experiences and an opportunity for attendees to provide feedback. ACE-STEM Cohort teachers departed equipped with knowledge and motivation to better support Multilingual Learners in the upcoming school year, all while enjoying the partial sunny weather that signaled the arrival of a bright summer.