MSSM hosts well-attended STEM Collaborative Educator’s Week

12 years ago

LIMESTONE — Shortly after all of the young campers returned home following an unprecedentedly popular year at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics (MSSM) Summer Camp, their teachers took their places in the classroom at the first annual STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Collaborative Educator’s Week held July 22-28.

Photo contributed by Thomas Murphy
Nancy Watson, teacher at Presque Isle Middle School, led the lesson “Hands on Beginning Algebra Equations” during MSSM’s first STEM Collaborative Educator’s Week, held July 22-28.


Nearly 60 educators and 20 presenters from around the state attended the week-long professional development opportunity.

“The mission of the MSSM summer educators’ outreach is to provide opportunities for STEM educators and professionals to network and collaborate. The ultimate goal of this networking is to bring interconnected STEM curriculum and contemporary and meaningful STEM teaching and learning opportunities across Maine,” said Summer Outreach Program Director Lisa Smith.

The weeklong program included keynote speaker Daniel Meyer, as seen on CNN, Good Morning America,, and Everyday with Rachel Ray.

Meyer is currently a doctoral candidate at Stanford in the field of math education, has taught high school math for six years, and was named one of Tech & Learnings 30 Leaders of the Future. He spoke to educators on the topic of “Making Math and Science Relevant in the Modern Classroom for Modern Learners.”

Course offerings held during the week included “Hands-On Molecular Biology Techniques,” “Exploring Effective Use of iPads in the Mathematics Classroom,” and “Putting the E of STEM in the Middle Level Science Classroom,” other topics.

Educators’ reasons for attending the weeklong collaborative varied, but their experiences during the course of the week had a similar theme, a desire to share ideas and a passion for teaching STEM.

“I have been surrounded by a bunch of people who are mutually invested in science and the teaching of science. It was not all classroom presentation — at Aroostook State Park yesterday, several of us were chatting as we walked along the trail about how amazing this week has been, feeding off each other’s ideas, energy and passion. We are surrounded by people who care about teaching science,” said Andrew Njaa, a physics teacher from Falmouth High School.

Other teachers, like Steve Knight, a physics and chemistry teacher at Winthrop High School, commented that they “picked up some new tricks” to use in the classroom.

Desiree Spaulding, a Lewiston Middle School gifted and talented instructor, said that it was curiosity that drew her to attend the collaborative week. “I have been curious about MSSM for many years, especially after one of my former students chose to enroll and reported back feeling accepted by her peers for the first time,” said Spaulding, who added that the week left her feeling “overwhelmed by the passion shared by the participants.”

Plans are already underway for the second annual STEM Collaborative Educator’s Week to be held next summer at MSSM, based on the success and popularity of this year’s camp.    

The Maine School of Science and Mathematics (MSSM) is a tuition-free, public, residential high school that enrolls students from across the state and serves over 500 students each year through its academic and summer offerings. Opened in 1995, the school provides high school students a rigorous, student-centered curriculum that emphasizes the connections between math, science, and humanities, and culminates in opportunities for authentic research. MSSM’s summer camps inspire Maine middle school students to explore their passions for science, math, engineering, and technology. MSSM also provides professional development opportunities for teachers throughout the state.

In 2012, U.S. World & News Report ranked the Maine School of Science and Mathematics the 38th best high school out of nearly 22,000 public high schools nationwide, and the 9th best magnet school.

For more information about MSSM, please visit the school’s website at or contact the admissions office at 325-3303.