Kenny Renner-Singer, Principal
Grade level: 3–5
Free and Reduced Meals: 56.1%
Year school began to implement innovative practices: 2008
Osborn Elementary School embraced a focus on community-based STEM education years ago. District and building administration, teachers, community organizations and families work together to provide hands-on, real-world science learning to all students.
The school ensures this innovative, community-based learning through networks with the Wenatchee River Institute, Chelan County PUD, Puget Sound Electric, the regional LASER Alliance, Association of Wheat Farmers, the National Fish Hatchery, and the University of North Carolina. Each experience is innovative because students do everything from raise and release salmon, develop understanding of the natural environment through learning in the woods, build electrical relays, learn about agriculture and wind power, participate in a national climate study out of the University of North Carolina, report rain and snow levels to a national data-base, and learn about alternative energy sources.
The research is clear that students who do real-world, relevant STEM-based learning are more engaged and develop inquiry and social skills. Not only have we seen exceptional improvement in science scores, but we have seen students who are more engaged, happier, and working well with one another. For example, students become empowered science learners when they help scientists and professors from a major university try to determine changes in weather patterns due to global warming.
Many schools and districts look to Osborn as a model of science education. Frequently teams of teams and administrators come to the school to work with Osborn teachers to improve their science program. We are one of the only schools in the nation to work with a National Fish Hatchery to raise and release salmon. We are the only elementary school in the nation to participate in the UNC study and track rain and snow levels for a national database.
These types of experiences are transformational in the lives of elementary school children.