FieldSTEM in Action

Third Graders Do Real-World Science Based on I-90 Wildlife Crossing

Visitors to Ann Riley’s third-grade classroom at Lincoln Elementary School in Ellensburg this spring would have discovered a group of eight and nine-year-old students enthralled by an unusual engineering challenge: designing structures to help pill bugs — aka ‘roly-polies’ — pass safely from one side of Interstate 90 to the other.

“They were so engaged, and they took it very seriously,” says Principal Joanne Duncan. “In their final presentations, they got to talk about their designs and what worked as well as what didn’t. They were so proud of what they had accomplished.”

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21/22 FieldSTEM in Review 

Implementing FieldSTEM Learning Across K-12

At PEI, we believe all students have the right to equitable, integrated, career connected, locally relevant, field-based learning – so that they understand the interconnectedness of systems and can make decisions to support socially just, sustainable communities. FieldSTEM is our signature model designed to help classroom teachers, schools and school districts implement equitable environmental and sustainability education.
Like many of you, we just wrapped up the 21/22 school year. Although, the FieldSTEM model was developed out of the work we’ve always done, this was our fifth year delivering FieldSTEM to Washington educators, schools, and districts in collaboration with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Click the link below to see highlights from this past year!

2022 FieldSTEM Celebration 

Save the Date!

Join us for PEI’s 4th annual FieldSTEM Celebration on Thursday, September 22nd from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the Olympia Ballroom.

Come celebrate the individuals and organizations who are bringing FieldSTEM to life across Washington State and making a positive impact in students’ lives.  You’ll hear directly from the teacher, school, school district, community partner and legislators we’re recognizing for their outstanding efforts in 2022 about how and why they embrace this educational model.

Interested in sponsoring this event? It’s a great opportunity to connect with a statewide audience in support of an outstanding cause. To learn more about sponsorship levels, contact Kathryn Kurtz at [email protected]

Welcome New (and Returning!) PEI Staff

Daniel Cuevas and Molly Griffiths

Daniel Cuevas, East Sound South FieldSTEM Coordinator

Daniel started with PEI in June. He is the East Sound South FieldSTEM Coordinator serving educators, schools and districts in Pierce and South King counties.

Hailing from ‘deep in the heart of Texas,’ Daniel pursued his passion for nature throughout his education and career starting with the National Ocean Sciences Bowl statewide competitions in high school. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Schreiner University where he interned for Upper Guadalupe River Authority. Before moving to Washington, Daniel worked across the Texas Hill Country in environmental education at Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, supporting domestic violence survivors for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and protecting endangered salamanders at the Austin Nature & Science Center.

In Washington he mentored youth by fostering green job skills in solid waste mitigation and urban ecological restoration through WA Department of Ecology and Forterra. He also tutored child and adult students in the Family and Child Education (FACE) Program at Chief Leschi Schools. Daniel comes to PEI after earning his Master of Environmental Studies from the Evergreen State College and currently serves as Vice President of the Board for Tahoma Audubon Society, focusing on providing equitable nature experiences for the Pierce County community.

Molly Griffiths, West Sound FieldSTEM Coordinator

Molly started with PEI in June. She is returning to us after a year of teaching in the classroom. She is now the West Sound FieldSTEM Coordinator serving educators, schools and districts in Kitsap, San Juan, West Clallam and West Jefferson counties.

Molly is an Oregon transplant who joined PEI in 2020 and rejoined in 2022.  She believes that nature has the ability to improve human health, foster strong connections to the world around us, and provide more equitable learning spaces. She is passionate about outdoor education and has seen how strong community partnerships can open doors and offer opportunities to students.  One of her goals in life is to share this passion with children and adults alike.  Bringing over twelve years of experience as a formal educator, Molly is a life long learner and continues to take courses from science literacy to aboriginal world views and healthy food systems.

Prior to joining PEI, Molly taught at a public Montessori school in Tacoma and was a K-3 Support Specialist for Bethel Schools.  She holds a B.S in Political Science, a Master of Arts in Teaching, and a 6-12 Montessori Teaching Certificate. Outside of work, Molly enjoys spending time with her family, frequenting local farmer’s markets, digging in the garden with her chickens, walking on a beach and forest bathing.
Please join us in welcoming Daniel and Molly to the PEI team!

Read more about all our staff here.

Join Our Team!

Program Coordinator & Associate Director of Communications and Development

We are hiring!

Are you interested in supporting educators in bringing real-world science to students in Washington state? If so, join our team! We are looking for two enterprising and collaborative people; one to work with our administrative team to support our statewide program staff and the other to manage our development and communications efforts.

The Program Coordinator supports multiple aspects of program delivery. This position is half-time and reports to the Associate Director of Program.

The Associate Director of Communications and Development’s primary responsibility is to work with PEI’s team of Directors to successfully manage Pacific Education Institute’s (PEI) organizational operations with respect to communications and development. The Associate Director will identify and utilize tools and strategies to increase system efficiency and build capacity. This is a full-time position that reports to the Executive Director. This position may supervise one or more staff, interns, or consultants.

PEI strives to create a diverse team that allows us to effectively connect to the communities we serve. We have a commitment to integrating diverse perspectives into our workplace culture and encourage our employees to bring their whole, authentic selves to work. PEI evaluates candidates based on their experience, abilities and effectiveness and does not discriminate against candidates based on any other personal characteristic or any classification.
Learn more about these positions by visiting our website.

Upcoming Events 

Date Workshop Location

Aug 3

SOLS: Renewable Energy-Solar

NWESD 189 Region

Aug 3-4

Engaging Communities in Forest Education

Raymond, WA

Aug 8

SOLS: Coastal Hazards

ESD 113 Region*

Aug 10-11

Engaging Communities in Forest Education

Forks, WA

Aug 10

SOLS: Urban Forestry

PSESD 121 Region*

Aug 16

SOLS: Wetlands

ESD 113 Region
*Workshop Full. Visit our calendar for more information.

  With Gratitude

Thank you to last month’s funders

Bill Monahan
Gareth Waugh
John Ison
Olympia Federal Savings
Port Blakely
Little Creek Casino Resort
Erika Bjorkquist
Donate to PEI
Copyright © 2022 Pacific Education Institute, All rights reserved.

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