Program Summary

As a Leader in Me® school, Michael C. Riley Elementary School embraces a philosophy and culture of student-driven learning on a daily basis. Our teachers facilitate instruction rather than direct it, and an inquiry-based model allows students to construct understandings and build twenty-first century skills such as collaboration, problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication. 

For the past eight years, M.C. Riley has offered STEM investigations and challenges to all third, fourth, and fifth grade students, and within the last four years, we have expanded this offering to all students in kindergarten through fifth grade.  STEM and inquiry-based learning are integrated into everyday instruction in classrooms through The Leader in Me’s Empowered-Learning Approach and the “3i” model of instruction, in which all lessons involve components that first Invite Curiosity, then Investigate Content, and finally Invite Connections so that students can solidify their understanding. Our STEM labs also provide opportunities for project-based challenges to extend the concepts that are being investigated within regular classrooms. Teachers visit STEM lab with their science and/or social studies classes so that not only can students engage in applications of the content that they are currently exploring, but teachers can use those experiences in STEM lab to further their instructional strategies in their own classrooms. This model was developed as a collaborative model to promote professional development in inquiry-based learning and the Engineering Design Process for teachers across the school. Connections can be made before and after STEM projects to help students create meaning from the new concepts they are exploring and make connections to real-world applications.

Our philosophy with our diverse population at M.C. Riley is to grow the whole child, helping students develop skills that will make them problem-solvers and passions for science, technology, engineering, and math, achieving not only within the classroom setting but setting them up for successful endeavors through their future years as students and as contributing members of society.