Parents learn about STEM academies at family nights

Parents joined their children at Frontier Elementary on a recent night for the district’s third STEM Family Night.

The family nights are intended to educate parents about the components of STEM education so they can engage their children in discussions about science, technology, engineering and math activities and possibilities.

“It’s making them aware of how they can support their children at home, so once they attend the STEM Academy, then they go home and their parents are able to talk to them about what they’re doing this night and how to make future decisions about careers in STEM,” said Laura Spence, the district’s STEM coordinator.

The Frontier Elementary STEM program and Radio Disney partnered for the event. Radio Disney provided tools for students and their parents to make a radio commercial. Families learned about sound, made a radio, then recorded their commercial, which aired before the audience.

District officials, under the leadership of Superintendent Michael A. Grego, are committed to increasing STEM opportunities for students. STEM fields account for the fastest growing career fields in the United States, and numerous studies tout the benefits of STEM education in the technology-driven 21st century.

“Our goal is to have a STEM Academy at every elementary and middle school in Pinellas County,” Dr. Grego said. “They’re afterschool programs that students create experiments, students deal with  applied mathematics, science, engineering and technology, and so they’re excited about it and learning is really fun in our STEM academies.

Giving parents information about the STEM programs and activities helps open up dialogue between parents and their children, Dr. Grego said.

“Family nights bring the families, the students, all together to determine what it is we’re doing with our STEM academies after school, so its a great way to involve our parents with their students’ learning,” Dr. Grego said.

To watch a video about the STEM Family Night, click here.