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Elementary Innovation Specialist to Help Lead STEM Opportunities in K-5 Classrooms

September 5, 2019 

Beth Kimmel photo
As the Wauwatosa School District looks to continuously improve, we think it’s important to build a bridge between the exciting future-focused opportunities we are adding at the secondary level - like career-based learning experiences, profession-based courses, and our Center for Design and Innovation, etc. - with the learning that occurs at the elementary level. 
Last spring a K-12 Innovation Specialist position was created for the District. In that position, Tina Koch has spent a great deal of time and energy solidifying the foundation of the District’s Academic and Career Planning (ACP) process for grades 6-12 and building the Tosa LAUNCH Program. As the Department of Teaching and Learning looked at the scope of Tina’s work, it became clear a K-12 focus was not realistic for one person. As a result, the District has split the role into two with one focused on secondary (Tina) and one role focused solely on our 11 elementary schools. 
In this new Elementary Innovation Specialist position, Mrs. Beth Kimmel will help lead, develop, implement and evaluate STEM opportunities for K-5 students across the district. She will also provide professional development within the classroom for teachers related to the design thinking process and design challenges specific to different content areas (reading, math, social studies, etc.). For the 2019-2020 school year, Mrs. Kimmel is focused on working with our Science Content Team of educators to identify and connect Science teaching to the Wisconsin State Science Standards, while including opportunities for students to engage in design challenges that align with current district resources. Mrs. Kimmel will also work to connect design challenges to reading, preparing monthly design challenges connected to picture books. Lastly, she will focus on helping elementary teachers bring more “design-thinking” into their current classroom and work. 
Design Thinking teaches students to think through challenges in creative and innovative ways and to search for solutions and alternative options that may not be initially apparent. It’s a process of thinking that great innovators in all industries can apply. 
Mrs. Kimmel spent the past 15 years as a 5th-Grade Teacher and most recently a Design Integration Support Teacher in the Wauwatosa School District and we’re excited to have her passion for innovation and education combined in this new role.