To celebrate Manufacturing Month, the Caterpillar Foundation is proud to support our partner Discovery Education in recognizing educators in STEM in the United States who are committed to advancing the next generation of doers in STEM fields.
Held annually on the first Friday in October, Manufacturing Day encourages companies and educational institutions to open its doors to students, parents, teachers and community leaders to show the reality of modern manufacturing careers.
As manufacturers seek to fill 4.6 million high-skill, high-tech and high-paying jobs over the next decade, Manufacturing Day empowers manufacturers around the country to come together to address their collective challenges so they can better help their communities and future generations thrive.
Meet Ché Abdullah, a K-5 teacher in Charlotte, NC.
Since the start of the pandemic, Mr. Abdullah has pivoted both his classroom and his teachings, finding solutions that usher in new ways to engage his students virtually.
To create a space where his students feel more connected to technology, while learning at a distance, and to boost their motivation to participate daily, Mr. Abdullah has increased his availability to students and their parents through the use of a designated communications platform.
Additionally, vital tools such as audiobooks, podcasts, and video content have been great drivers for Mr. Abdullah’s success, and his incorporation of learning targets into single subjects have promoted cooperation and communication and have encouraged students to seek answers and solutions needed to achieve.
Mr. Abdullah’s ability to empower his students and give them a sense of control of what and how they learn has produced substantial results. His students’ courageous response to challenges presented to them in a way that motivates them to achieve success is what inspires him most.
Meet Debbie Martin, an Instructional Technology Coach from Winchester, VA.
As an Instructional Technology Coach, Ms. Martin works primarily with teachers, supporting their professional development.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, she has creatively used digital communication channels to meet teachers’ needs, administering virtual meetings and video tutorials to equip teachers with necessary tools to inspire young minds.
Through her virtual sessions, she also advises teachers to use outside resources such as blogs and YouTube channels when trying testing out innovative models for their classrooms and to seek input from their students on what works well for them and what can be improved.
As teachers continue to rise to the challenges of virtual and hybrid learning, Ms. Martin is inspired by individuals’ willingness to learn and try new things, while also developing patience as everyone collectively works through the process of maximizing their potential through these challenging times.
Meet Kristi Dragan, a K-12th grade Science Coordinator in Lebanon, TN.
As a Science Coordinator, Ms. Dragan works to create comprehensive science curriculum and programs for teachers to help students engage with concepts and materials.
Since the pandemic, Ms. Dragan has pivoted her daily work to integrate science programs into a hybrid teaching platform for students and teachers, aiming to teach science standards effectively. Despite the challenge of pivoting to a virtual format, Ms. Dragan has shown tremendous resolve and dedication in creating in-depth programs for teachers and students alike.
As the science program continues to transition into a virtual format, Ms. Dragan created her first virtual office to increase the channels of communication between herself, teachers, administrators, students, and parents.
With many educators seeking advice for this new norm, Ms. Dragan’s virtual office allows her to step out of her comfort zone to inspire educators who are also tackling challenges during this pandemic.
Meet Linda Hixson, a 7th -12th grade technology teacher in Shenandoah, PA.
As a result of the pandemic many educators have had to adjust to a virtual world, including Ms. Hixson who had to pivot her classroom and lessons to an online format.
One of the biggest challenges Ms. Hixson faced was incorporating a collaboration
component into distant learning. She began using creative ideas such as online demonstrations and shared Google projects, allowing her to keep students engaged and promote collaboration and teamwork among them.
In addition to these lessons, Ms. Hixson stays inspired by her students. In fact, her high school students have been a driving force in creating and implementing programming classes, where often both Ms. Hixson and her students learn together, reaffirming her lifelong commitment to learning.
Ms. Hixson’s ability to keep her students engaged and give them a unique learning experience has motivated and inspired her students to keep learning despite these challenging times.