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Twelve Years of Growth and Success at Douglas L. Jamerson Elementary School Center for Mathematics and Engineering

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division: Evaluation: Impact of Curriculum for PreK-12 Engineering Education

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Pre-College Engineering Education Division

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Paper Authors


Marilyn Barger Florida Advanced Technological Education Center of Excellence

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Dr. Marilyn Barger is the Principal Investigator and Executive Director of FLATE, the Florida Regional Center of Excellence for Advanced Technological Education, funded by the National Science Foundation and housed at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida since 2004. FLATE serves the state of Florida as its region and is involved in outreach and recruitment of students into technical career pathways; has produced award winning curriculum design and reform for secondary and post-secondary Career and Technical Education programs; and provides a variety of professional development for SETM and technology secondary and post-secondary educators focused on advanced technologies. She earned a B.A. in Chemistry at Agnes Scott College and both a B.S. in Engineering Science and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering (Environmental) from the University of South Florida, where her research focused on membrane separation science and technologies for water purification. She has over 20 years of experience in developing curricula for engineering and engineering technology for elementary, middle, high school, and post secondary institutions, including colleges of engineering. Dr. Barger has presented at many national conferences including American Association of Engineering Education, National Career Pathways Network, High Impact Technology Exchange, ACTE Vision, League of Innovation and others. Dr. Barger serves on several national panels and advisory boards for technical programs, curriculum and workforce initiatives, including the National Association of Manufacturers Educators‘Council. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Engineering Education, a member of Tau Beta Pi and Epsilon Pi Tau honor societies. She is a charter member of both the National Academy and the University of South Florida‘s Academy of Inventors. Dr. Barger holds a licensed patent and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Florida.

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Richard Gilbert University of South Florida

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Richard Gilbert is a Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at the University of South Florida's College of Engineering . Richard is the Co-PI for the grant that supports the NSF designated Center of Excellence for Advanced Technological Education in Florida, FLATE. FLATE, now in its 12 year of operation, addresses curriculum, professional development, and outreach issues to support the creation of Florida's technical workforce. Richard has over 30 years of experience working with the K-14 education community. Other funded efforts include projects for the NIH and the US Department of Education. The latter was for the development of an engineering curriculum for elementary school applications. The former is for development of electric field mediated drug and gene applicators and protocols. This effort has generated over 20 patents and cancer treatment protocols currently in Phase II trials.

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XX Xxxxxxxx (XXX) opened as a U.S. Department of Education Magnet School in August 2003 in the 9th largest public school district in the country. Utilizing a three-year Magnet School grant, the school established a Center for Mathematics and Engineering to developed its integrated, whole school curriculum with engineering as the core and the connector. The results of this careful planning and meticulous attention to details is striking. For the last nine years straight (through 2015), this intercity elementary school has been named a Magnet School of Excellence by Magnet Schools of America. XXX enjoys a national reputation and has been recognized locally five times during that same period for excellence in elementary education. In 2014-15, the State of Florida reported that 82% of XXX's 5th graders scored at grade level (Level 3) or above in the 2015 FCAT Science 2.0 tests. This is an amazing statistic for any school. Below are highlights from the school's 2015 testing experience.

• 82% of XXX 5th graders scored at Level 3 or above in the 2015 FCAT Science 2.0 test. • 46% of XXX 5th graders scored at Level 5 in the 2015 FCAT Science 2.0 tests. This ranks XX Xxxxxxxx as the #1 elementary school in the school district and in the top 5% in the State for performance on the FCAT 2.0 Science test in 2015. • The percentage of African-American students achieving level 3 or higher on the same FCAT Science 2.0 test increased from less than 5% in 2008 to over 65% in 2015.

Whole school integration, focused professional development, and high standards for academic excellence are foundational to XXX success. That effort has produced a learning community where all students at XXX have integrated learning opportunities that stimulate their intellectual curiosity, require them to demonstrate they have learned how to learn, and enable them to become productive and effective citizens. XXX does this using engineering as its integration focus for every student in all classes and at all grade levels.

K-5 educators are attracted to engineering as an education vehicle because it is compatible with their tactile project based approach to teaching. Since engineering technology's mufti is, by definition, “hands-on” and project based it is easy to convince elementary school educators that engineering type projects are fun ways to have students learn science principles. In fact, most K-5 teachers already use "science fair" type projects with their latent but heavy component of back yard engineering as the basis for typical elementary school science lessons. The challenge is to extend this application of engineering ideas, design, and technology to the level that elementary engineering education is a specific defined and structured approach to an integrated STEM education platform as well as a pedagogical tool for integrating the "reading, writing, and arithmetic" elements of K-5 education. Results at XXX suggest that their approach will meet this challenge.

This paper evaluates XX Xxxxxxxx Elementary School’s engineering integrated experience for elementary education. It discusses impediments to its success, reviews statewide test scores and school ranking over the last five years. It also reviews the structure of the curriculum, strategies for teacher professional development, and the data that demonstrates their success.

Barger, M., & Gilbert, R. (2016, June), Twelve Years of Growth and Success at Douglas L. Jamerson Elementary School Center for Mathematics and Engineering Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27084

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