When we talk about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), it is important to remember that Career and Technical Education (CTE) IS STEM! CTE programs are STEM laboratories, impacting technical, academic and employability skills to prepare students to be career and college ready. The Bay-Arenac ISD Career Center is home to 23 state-approved career and technical programs, all of which are steeped in STEM!

Work-based learning is a key component within all of the Career Center’s CTE programs. These experiences are directly tied to curriculum and the skills that students learn in class, enabling them to participate in on-site experiences that traditional co-op does not allow. For example, due to the level of safety training students receive, they are able to do things such as run lathes, mills, and power equipment in related manufacturing areas. These placements serve as an extension of each CTE program’s lab and are nothing but STEM!

I also want to take a moment to highlight a STEM initiative in which the community can take advantage. Career Center students in the Engineering and Early Childhood & Education programs combined knowledge and efforts to develop an outdoor STEM learning lab that will appeal to preschool-elementary age children.  The location for this STEM lab will be around the outside of the Career Center, and include the pond, arboretum, garden, BASIC house, recycling, Wind Turbines and Solar Flares. High school students from these programs collaborated to develop this project by first exploring existing outdoor labs at Chippewa Nature Center Preschool and Kolb Elementary Trails.

Students worked together to research what activities would promote STEM at each location around the Career Center.  The teams developed interactive stations for children to learn about STEM while participating in age-appropriate, open-ended activities, focusing on fine and large motor skills development. Groups were responsible for putting together a portfolio of information which included three-dimensional and two-dimensional drawings by the engineering students. A written report was included along with a PowerPoint presentation that described the team’s STEM stations and activities.  The plan is to offer an Outdoor Learning Lab for children in the spring of 2017. This lab would be open to all children pre-school-elementary, free of charge.

This is just a sampling of what is happening EVERY day at the Career Center!


For more information on STEM and the Career Center, please contact Jennifer Geno at genoj@baisd.net or 989-667-3242.