Happy Holidays from STC! As we look forward to 2020, we’re also reflecting on what an amazing year it’s been. Our commitment to ensuring students have real-world learning experiences that prepare them to fulfill their potential and lead choice-filled lives has only strengthened as we find new ways to help schools reimagine education through real-world learning. Schools That Can school leaders put students first and think outside the box; Schools That Can teachers strive to connect students with the world beyond their classroom walls; Schools That Can students are resilient, full of potential, and our leaders of tomorrow.

In the spirit of stepping into the New Year, explore a few end-of-year highlights below, and learn what each STC team member enjoyed most about 2019!

This fall, we gathered 200+ middle schoolers to collaborate with peers and partners at Design Days in our 4 regions: Chicago, Newark, New York, and Pittsburgh all hosted amazing Design Days that brought local partners, businesses, and community members together to create a memorable, exciting day for students. Read all about them here. “It makes all of us feel great… we know that we’re a part of the city,” D’Almeida, a Newark middle schooler, told Chalkbeat.

In partnership with Da Vinci Schools and Next Generation Learning Challenges, the Transforming Learning Collaborative has grown leaps and bounds! We’re supporting the second cohort of Incubator teams through the Transforming Learning Incubator, and had an incredible Transforming Learning Conference in October, which brought educators from around the country together in California. Educational Solutions, a loyal member of the STC network since 2015, participated in the inaugural incubator last year and shared their story of transformation

We added new team members! It’s always a joy to expand our dedicated team, and this year, we were thrilled to welcome LaTanya Hutsona, Program Manager for Schools That Can Chicago, and Josiah Johnson, Manager of School Programs for Schools That Can Newark, to the team.

Here’s what some of our team loved most about 2019:

“Newark Design Day, and Pop-Up Makerspace at TFA. It was really exciting to have kids from our schools take over 2 floors of TFA and really enjoy the virtual reality and low-tech maker activities.” – Roger, Director of Maker Programs, STC New York

“Winning the Impact100 grant, because it was a true collaboration between National, Newark and Troy Long (local STC network school leader).” – Kristin, Development Manager 

“I enjoyed the Transforming Learning Conference in LA in October. It was exciting to see what our schools could look like in the future and how that might inform our Professional Learning Groups work.” – LaTanya, Programs Manager, STC Chicago 

“Going through the Design Day feedback from students and hearing how much they appreciated the teamwork aspect and getting to collaborate with students they didn’t know at all. There’s so much you can do with that.” – Erin, Program Manager, Pittsburgh

“I have had a lot of great STC moments in 2019, but one of my favorites has to be when one of our West Side Advanced manufacturing graduates shared with me that she had been hired full-time at ZaGO Manufacturers. Since then, she and I have touched base every few weeks and she has continued to be really excited about her career. She told me that last week she felt like a superstar after the various blogs mentioned her — and because it was her birthday. Yasha’s story really is a success story for the organization, and I am looking forward to helping more students be able to find their passion and acquire skills and knowledge to make their professional and personal dreams come true.”  – Ashaki, Career Skills Manager, STC Newark

“The summer curriculum retreat for the Maker Partnership Program. Though it may not have been super climactic, it did feel like a culmination of almost 5 years of work – back when we started the STC Maker Fellows program with an idea of it being a trojan horse to change teachers’ practices. The retreat saw teachers really intentionally considering how to integrate these maker and computer science practices into their lessons.” – Casey, COO, STC National