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STEM Certification Helps Alum Bring National Accreditation to Her School

Local teacher Amanda Ringenbach earned her STEM Certificate from Lebanon Valley College

Teaching is not just about educating others; it also entails keeping updated on the newest information and finding innovative and exciting ways to incorporate that into the classroom. Amanda Ringenbach ’16 holds that value close and took on the challenge to pursue her STEM Certification as she saw an increased push for STEM in the classroom. 

Ringenbach, who earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood and special education from LVC, was drawn to its Integrative STEM Education Certificate for the accelerated course speeds and practicum component. Additionally, the night classes fit perfectly into Ringenbach’s schedule as she works full-time as a second-grade teacher at Saint Joan of Arc School in Hershey, Pa.

“The courses were very interesting, and I learned about new resources I could apply to all grade levels,” said Ringenbach. “The practicum component proved to be rewarding as it allowed me to apply content to my classroom.”

Upon completing the certificate program, which consists of four eight week terms including a practicum, Ringenbach presented a day of professional development to her fellow faculty and staff about the best ways to integrate STEM into the school setting. From this presentation, Ringenbach’s school organized several STEM projects and activities throughout the school year and even offered a STEM-based summer camp. 

“Our teachers are now implementing multiple STEM projects a year and utilizing LabLearner,” said Ringenbach. “LabLearner is a science lab with an integrative approach to covering all content areas with fun and engaging lessons.”

Proud of their accomplishments in the STEM field, Ringenbach and the school’s Education Excellence Committee worked on an accreditation application to the Middle States Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools. A Middle States team visited the school to complete an assessment, and shortly after, Saint Joan of Arc School was awarded the Program of Distinction for STEM in October of 2018. 

“This national accreditation is a testament to the continued academic excellence that St. Joan of Arc provides for our students,” said Ringenbach, who also has a master’s of education in teaching and curriculum. “It allows our school to continuously assess and improve our STEM program. We are able to apply for grants and promote our reputation as an exceptional school. Our school also can serve as a guide to other institutions who are applying for a Program of Distinction through Middle States.”   

As Ringenbach moves forward with St. Joan of Arc, she looks forward to finding even more new and exciting ways to add STEM concepts into the classroom. She also maintains an open door to any LVC student who would like to act as a student observer in her classroom.

“I am extremely grateful for the education that I received through LVC,” said Ringenbach. “Thank you to all the amazing professors that taught me what I know. LVC will forever have an impact on my teaching career, and I am so grateful for my experiences.”

 

-- Parker Gallagher, Marketing & Communications Student Assistant