STEM Bits and PL Update

Ohio Valley and the Athens/Meigs ESC/ SE Ohio PL Specialist

Issue #10 November 16, 2022

Computer Science Ed Week Dec 5-9

We must be the Change our Kids Need

This issue is coming out a little early as some of the dates in the newsletter are coming up fast. As you look through the newsletter, you will find many events and resources that are coming up that will help support both Personalized Learning and STEM in your classroom.

I have also included a design challenge for December. This challenge could be embedded into various subject areas with the right creativity. IF you want support, reach out to me and I would gladly come in and lead a design challenge in your class or building. This one is pretty inexpensive and could be done over the course of a couple class periods or you could do over the course of a week.

You will also find information on Chris Woods coming to SE Ohio. I am working with Chris to plan a day around how STEM can support personalized learning, especially in regards to Learner Driven and Authentic Learning. This will be on Dec 19 and is free for our member schools in the OVESC and Athens-Meigs ESC. Please take advantage of it. Kudos to Wolf Creek who have already signed up 9 staff members.

I have included some opportunities for Computer Science Week that start with some free PD and then provide some activities to complete during this week.

Lastly, the 2nd convening of the Appalachian STEM Collaborative will be on Dec 6 and registration is still open.

All of these activities and events are centered on one objective: how do we change to meet the needs of all of our learners? All of us adults need to examine what we are doing and how we can better serve our learners. We need to get out of our own way and make the necessary changes that our kids need.

Please complete the survey by clicking RED button below:

Newsletter Highlights

  • Join Chris Woods for a Day of Learning
  • Over the River and Through the Woods Bridge Design Challenge
  • Computer Science ED Week
  • Believe in Ohio Program
  • Appalachian STEM Collaborative Next Meeting Dec 6, 2022
  • Leadership Excellence County Cohorts
  • Personalized Learning and STEM Regional PD
  • Fellowships still available for various credentialling program
  • Personalized Learning Course to Be Offered for Credit
  • #WEteachSTEM PLC
  • Growing Home Fellowship Program for Young Educators
  • Support for STEM Designation or increasing STEM Culture
  • Personalized Learning Framework: Making the Leap to a Learner Driven School Culture
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Over the River and Through the Woods December Design Challenge

With December upon us, almost every child at one time or another has heard Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother's house we go...

Well, this December there is a problem, the bridge was washed out by a flood and now you have to assemble a team to build a new bridge.

Challenge: How many quarters can your bridge hold?

Learning Facilitators (Teachers): Capture your students work in picture and video form and share on Twitter and use the following hashtags: #DecDesignChallenge #OSLN #OVESCdesignchallenge and tag my twitter @cmill_stemguy.

Take a video of the bridge that will hold the most.

See the guidelines below and add the following. The bridge must be built across an opening of atleast 18 inches.

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CSEdWeek Dec 5-9

CSEdWeek is around the corner (December 5-9)! This year, the Ohio STEM Learning Network is partnering with Tynker for Schools to offer a free activity for Ohio K-12 teachers and students! It’s called Coding Cup. Tynker for Schools’ parent is sponsoring FIFA World Cup 2022, and this gives students a chance to code their own team and engage with students all over the world.

All Ohio teachers can join two LIVE learning events around Coding Cup! We hope you will take part in this wonderful opportunity.

First – Join the FREE Web PD for Ohio Teachers

In this FREE 60-minute webinar, explore Tynker’s brand-new collaborative coding experience that lets students control their own soccer team! In this webinar, educators will create their Tynker classrooms, enhance their own soccer skills with Tynker, compete in matches, and discover more CSEdWeek activities!

When: November 30, 2022 from 4:00-5:00 PM

Register here:

Second – Add CodeLab LIVE for Ohio to Your Calendar

CodeLab is a live learning show for students, hosted by Tynker Teachers, which includes a LIVE walk-through of the Coding Game/Activity during CSEdWeek.

When: December 5, 2022 from 12:00-1:00 PM

Register here:

Help us spread the word to other teachers! Please feel free to forward this email or share this link. If you have any questions, please email Sandra Wilder (

Thank you and I hope to see you there!

Believe in Ohio Program

The Ohio Academy of Science would like to offer your students the opportunity to participate in our free Believe in Ohio program. Believe in Ohio is a STEM and entrepreneurship program for grades 6-12 that incorporates scientific inquiry and technological/engineering design through a project-based curriculum. The program guides students through Mileposts (step by step process) where they identify a problem, research and utilize STEM concepts to innovate, and provide a solution. Students also apply entrepreneurial skills to determine the market feasibility of their solution. The program is designed to create a “Culture of Innovation” and to prepare students to meet the demands of a rapidly changing labor market and become contributors to Ohio’s innovation economy.

The Believe in Ohio program can be used to:

  • Fulfill WEP goals.

  • Provide differentiated instruction and personalized learning in classrooms.

  • Meet a requirement for the Honors STEM diploma.

  • Provide students the opportunity to gain experience in STEM career exploration.

  • Provide students with a template for becoming entrepreneurs.

Believe in Ohio Project Choices:

  • STEM Commercialization Plan–Final proof of concept focuses on the scientific background of their solution.

  • STEM Business Plan–Final proof of concept focuses on the market feasibility of their solution.


Students who complete a Believe in Ohio project can choose:

  • A written plan–up to a 12-page paper and be eligible for the $10,000 scholarship at the state level.

  • A pitch video and 3-page summary and be eligible for the $5,000 scholarship at the state level.

  • Or both–but can only choose one of the above to advance to qualifying and state levels.

  • High School students only are eligible for qualifying and state level competitions.


Grades 6-8: Local competition only

  • Grades 6-8 need to have projects completed by the end of May.

Grades 9-12: Eligible for local, qualifying, and state level competitions

  • To be eligible for the qualifying and state competitions for the 2022-2023 school year, students need to have their projects completed and submitted by February 28, 2023.

  • If you cannot meet the February deadline for this school year, you can start the program with any student that is not graduating by May 2023 and submit projects for qualifying and state competitions during the next school year.

If you are interested in using the Believe in Ohio program in your classroom this year, please register as a teacher and create your classroom on ProjectBoard at

The Believe in Ohio program curriculum, teaching resources, and student resources, and student workspace are all included on ProjectBoard.

App STEM Collaborative Next Mtg is Dec 6, 2022

Our next convening of the Appalachian STEM Collaborative is on Dec 6, 2022. Please mark your calendars and get registered. The more districts we have participating, the stronger voice we will have and the more we can do for our region.

Reach out for more information by email at

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Regional Professional Development Series

Through the Ohio Valley ESC, Athens Meigs ESC, and supported by the SE Hub of the Ohio STEM Learning Network, we are looking at developing a series of ongoing PD options for learning facilitators to choose from. Recently, the schools up for redesignation and/or working on their STEM or STEAM designation have inquired seeking support around personalized learning. We are looking at potential dates in the very near future to support schools.

If you have a professional development need around STEM or personalized learning, please complete the survey above to provide feedback.

Ohio Personalized Learning Framework: Authentic Learning

What is personalized learning?

Personalized learning is a learner-driven approach to teaching and learning that supports learners in achieving their goals in the ways that work best for them. In order to ensure each learner graduates ready for what's next, it calls on educators to:

1. Really know and empower their learners.

2. Facilitate and co-design learning experiences with their learners.

3. Align supports to meet individual learners' distinct learning needs, interests, aspirations or cultural backgrounds.

4. Provide ways for learners to demonstrate what they know and know how to do.

Below, you will find the fourth component, Authentic Learning. Authentic Learning is hard to define, but easy to see. Learners engage in relevant learning experiences after being given the opportunity to solve problems around issues that matter to them.

Authentic Learning, in my opinion, is the key to saving so many of our students who cannot find a purpose in school. Look at the components below and ask yourself this, how can you develop learning opportunities where students develop their own purpose for learning? Learners then engage in collaborative problem solving around something they find relevant and important. This is not the education many of us, if not all of us, has received. This is a transformational process that will find the fire in our learners that we have attempted to extingquish for the past several decades.

I would love to support you through this journey in your classrooms. To find out more or how I can support your classrooms, please feel free to reach out by email or by phone.


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Personalized Learning Support for Teacher Teams

The Personalized Learning Specialist for SE Ohio are ready to support teacher teams, building teams, or even districts in their journey towards a learner-centered classroom. If you would like to discuss potential options for free PD and coaching support around Personalized Learning, please contact me at 937-508-8680 or by email at

#Leading Change PLC

Are you looking to grow your own professional learning community? Maybe looking for a way to connect your team to others? Or maybe you need a place to go for advice and support to transform your teaching and learning? I would highly recommend joining the Leading Change Professional Learning Community. The #LeadingChange PLC is focused on the transformation of our classrooms through personalized learning. Currently, there are 500 active members. So imagine being able to pose an issue and receive feedback and connect with other members from around the country.

For the 2022-2023 year, I have been selected as a Leading Change Fellow to lead this group and help promote collaboration to support the members. I would love to see a presence of Ohio Educators in this group, plus it will grow your network. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me at or you can call or text at 937-508-8680. Follow the link below to join the group.

Opportunity to Connect through Personalized Learning and STEM

Please consider passing the information on that there is a monthly twitter chat on Monday night at 8:30 p.m. These are 45 minutes with discussions framed around a set of questions. This Monday, Nov 7, 2022, we will be discussing various components of Personalized Learning and how various practices such as PBL and STEM can help create a personalized learning classroom.

#WeAreTeachers wants to give you $500

Follow the link below to find out more about how you could win $500 for your classroom.

Personalized Learning 101 Course to Be Offered

The Ohio Valley/Athens Meigs ESC will be providing a 2-credit hour course that will start in November. This will be a blended class with majority of the course being offered virtually; however, there will be 2 in person meetings. The course will start the first week of November and meet 1 x a week. In January, we will have 1 full day on Jan 14 that will focus on creating actionable plans and structures you can take into your classroom. Each week, we will introduce various methods to increase the learner centered classroom. You will leave this course with tools and a network that will support you to increase Learner Driven lessons in your classroom.

Title of Course:

Personalized Learning 101: Creating a Learner Centered Classroom

Course Mtg Dates: To be Determined...

Register at the link below:

#WEteachSTEM PLC to Launches to Support STEM Minded Educators

In an effort to connect STEM Minded Educators across Ohio, I am forming the #WEteachSTEM PLC. In working with many teachers, especially those in a STEM role, I have found that many are often teaching in isolation. Through the #WEteachSTEM collaborative PLC, I hope that we can create a collaborative platform that allows tchrs, administrators, and other STEM Minded individuals to find support, strategies, and resources to create additional opportunities for all the students across Ohio. If you would like to join the #WEteachSTEM, please register on the link below.

While so many are doing great things, together we can grow individually as we share ideas and strategies across the group to support one another. I hope you will consider joining the #WEteachSTEM PLC. There is no obligation, no requirements...just bring your passion for disrupting the status quo and a thirst to do great things for our learners.

Growing Home Fellowship

The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio’s Growing Home Fellowship leverages the potential of young adults, ages 18-35, in the K-12 workforce to advance sustained transformation in communities across Appalachian Ohio. This program seeks to identify emerging leaders who feel compelled to serve their communities and who are excited to connect with other passionate, committed young people across Appalachian Ohio. Fellows will be supported with financial stipends, leadership development experiences, and peer support.

Fellows agree to live, work, and volunteer in Appalachian Ohio for a five-year period, during which they will participate in a leadership development cohort focused on one of these topics: regional, local, or sector-based servant leadership.

Over five years, fellows will receive a $32,000 stipend to ensure their continued employment in the K-12 workforce and residency in Appalachian Ohio. This stipend may be used at the fellow’s discretion. Follow the link below if interested. This is a great opportunity for young educators to not only impact their community but also grow as a professional.

Grant Opportunities

Strengthen Civics Education in Appalachian Ohio

Educating and equipping strong citizens is essential to strong communities and a strong democracy. That’s why the Longaberger Family Foundation and the I’m a Child of Appalachia Fund at the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio are offering grants to K-12 public educators and nonprofit service providers.

Projects should encourage students to acquire a broad, deep knowledge base in subjects integral to robust citizenship, forge positive relationships with the self and wider-world, and work to analyze different views to feel empowered to participate in civic life. Applications are available here and will be accepted from K-12 public educators and nonprofit service providers in the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio through Friday, October 29.

Supporting Personalized Learning Across SE Ohio

While employed through a collaborative grant effort by the Ohio Valley and the Athens/Meigs ESC, I serve the majority of SE Ohio as a Ohio Personalized Learning Facilitator and would like to connect with teachers, principals, and other administrators to see how I can support your current work and potentially enhance your current practices through a Personalized Approach. If you would like support in any of the following, I would be happy to assist. If you have other issues/challenges or a new initiative you would like some additional support for, please contact me and I will support you and work to connect you with resources.

What is Personalized Learning?

Personalized Learning means meeting each student at their own level, challenging them with high expectations for academic achievement and growing learner agency through:

  • Instruction aligned to rigorous academic standards and social-emotional skills learners need.
  • Customized instruction that allows each student to design learning experiences aligned to his or her interests (Learner Agency).
  • Varied pacing of instruction based on individual learner needs, allowing students to accelerate or take additional time based on their level of mastery. (Path and Pace)
  • Real-time differentiation of instruction, supports and interventions based on data from formative assessments and student feedback to ensure every student remains on track.

To find out more details, please reach out to me. I can work with individual teachers, grade levels, buildings, districts.

Chad Miller, Personalized Learning Specialist, SE OH