The New England League of Middle Schools (NELMS) announced at its 38th Annual Conference (held March 21-22, 2019) that Kathy Bertini, a teacher at Madison Junior High School in Madison, Maine was awarded a NELMS 2019 Master in Middle Award. Jeff Rodman, Executive Director of NELMS, state “Paying attention to the learning needs of young adolescents and recognizing their unique developmental stage can make a significant difference in the lives of 10-14-year olds.” He added “recognizing those experienced in middle level educators is a major part of the work of the Recognition’s Committee who often have a very difficult task choosing winners.”
Kathy Bertini is the project director for the cooperative FEDES grant awarded by the Maine Department of Education in 2017, for a project called Kennebec Valley STEAM Outreach. Among the FEDES STEAM Outreach Project goals is the development of an upper elementary/middle level STEAM curriculum including a curriculum pilot in the three project partner districts, RSU 74, RSU 59, and RSU 83/MSAD 13. The STEAM curriculum is based on the engineering design process and incorporates trends in the work force and builds skills in areas of the State’s workforce where shortages are projected. The STEAM project also employs University of Maine engineering undergraduates to aid classroom teachers with curriculum implementation. The UMO undergrads also consult with the curriculum writer, Kathy Bertini, providing specific guidance on the engineering elements of each build, they act as mentors, and help with staff professional development. The KVSOP curriculum includes lessons/builds for grades 3-8 including a scope and sequence, alignment to NGSS content, Maine Learning Results and Engineering Design standards. Embedded in each build/lesson is a digital reference that reinforces the science content appropriate for the grade level. Each build is connected to a real-life science career to support the connection with real world science application and a referenced to a habit of work element to encourage design change and performance expectations.