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Steven David Schultz: taking learning way beyond the classroom

Transcription – Steven David Schultz, Prime Minister's Award recipient

[Black screen fades up to a white background, with the following words appearing, line by line: Prime Minister's Awards. Music playing. Transition to a white and grey screen with medium shot of a man, smiling, on the left side of the screen, with the following words appearing, line by line, on the right and voice over: Steven David Schultz, École Secondaire Lacombe Composite High School, Lacombe, Alberta.]

[Fade to black and then to photos, with voice over. Photos: a group of students and model structures they have built, with Steven and two colleagues; Steven with group of students dressed up as space-age beekeepers, and two colleagues, at an assembly; large group of students posing with handmade green banner reading "Eco Vision" with a hand-painted mural of a tree in the background; Steven and his students holding a large cheque; close up of Steven, smiling, with a group of African students leaning their heads in; students smiling with a group of African students; Steven and students in beekeeping suits in front of hives; Steven and students in beekeeping suits in front of trees; Steven and students dressed formally wearing medals around their necks posing for a photo.]

Steven Schultz started a robotics program 15 years ago that has since involved hundreds of students at 10 schools in Central Alberta. Through his EcoVision environmental projects, students built a tropical greenhouse, established a two-acre garden and launched a composting program—all while developing leadership, communication and innovation skills not possible in the classroom. A partnership with a local college led to the first-of-its-kind high school Green Certificate beekeeping program. Students then went on to launch an urban beekeeping program with municipality.

[Fade to black and then up white and grey screen with medium shot of man, smiling, on the left side of the screen, with the following words appearing, line by line, on the right: Steven David Schultz, École Secondaire Lacombe Composite High School, Lacombe, Alberta. Voice over: Steven David Schultz.]

[Fade to white, with the Government of Canada FIP and then the Canada Wordmark appearing in black.]

Year: 2019 – Province: Alberta

Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Steven David Schultz

General Science, Chemistry, Electro-Technology, Agriculture, Green Certificate
Beekeeping, Mechatronics-Robotics, grades 10–12
École Secondaire Lacombe Composite High School, Lacombe, Alberta

"Steve is helping to shape Lacombe one child at a time. His energy and drive are matched only by his sincere commitment to helping his students."
— President, community environmental association

Steven Schultz started a robotics program 15 years ago, that has since involved hundreds of students at 10 schools. He shares his project-based approach, and STEM and robotics activities, with teachers and students in schools and orphanages around the world.

Teaching approach

A great listener, Steven finds the positive in any situation, encouraging students, regardless of ability, race or gender, to pursue their passions and strengths. Inspired by multiple intelligences theory, he uses project-based learning strategies to help students gain confidence and improve performance.

In the classroom

  • Goes beyond the curriculum with EcoVision environmental projects—building a tropical greenhouse, establishing a two-acre garden and launching a composting program—that allow students to develop leadership, communication and innovation skills not possible in the classroom.
  • Pioneered a robotics team for young people to learn programming, design, mechanics and electronics skills; has led to considerable interest in STEM subjects in central Alberta.
  • Integrates technology to enhance teaching and learning: computer-assisted instruction supplements classroom time in electro-technology and robotics course; Netflix and YouTube videos sustain beekeeping course over the winter, when students can't access the hives.
  • Leads international trips to extend learning: students learned about recycling, biodiversity and Indigenous culture in Costa Rica, and developed lesson plans in Kenya.

Outstanding achievements

  • Secured partnerships with a college leading to mechatronics and robotics program for high school students, and another college to develop the first-of-its-kind high school Green Certificate beekeeping program; students then launched the urban beekeeping program with municipality.
  • Has been part of Science 30 curriculum development team for Alberta Education for 25 years, developing and testing innovative diploma exam questions, and reviewing and marking exams.
  • Classes are continually above provincial averages; less than one percent of students have failed his courses over 25 years, including diploma-level courses in chemistry and science.
  • School named Canada's Greenest School in 2018 (tied for first); robotics team regularly earns spot in world championships; Steven named 2018 Citizen of the Year by local chamber of commerce.
Transcription – Steven David Schultz - 2019 Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence

[Black screen fades up to close-up of man in interview setting, against a white background. Music playing.]

"I became a teacher because of other influences in my life. But also I became a teacher because I believe that I was created to be a teacher. It's a calling on my life."

[Fade to black and then up to white with medium shot of a man, smiling, on the right side of the screen, with the following words appearing, line by line, on the left: Steven David Schultz, École Secondaire Lacombe Composite High School, Lacombe, Alberta. Fade to black and then back to Steven in the interview setting.]

"There are several innovative ideas that I use in my classroom to help students succeed. I think that the most important thing that I do is I allow my students to discover their strengths and their passions."

[Cut to photos, with voice over. Photos: Close up of Steven, smiling, with a group of African students leaning their heads in; school's geodesic dome greenhouse and raised beds; large group of students posing with handmade green banner reading "Eco Vision" with a hand-painted mural of a tree in the background; Steven and students in beekeeping suits in front of hives.]

"Some innovative projects that we've created are the greenhouse, the two-acre gardens, raising honey bees and solitary bees, …"

[Cut back to close-up of Steven in the interview setting.]

"… putting solar panels on the roof of our school. All of them have been led and driven by student interest, student passions, student dreams.

[Cut to black and then back to close-up of Steven in the interview setting.]

"I believe that technology is just a tool. It's not the end-all, be-all, but it is a valuable tool.

[Cut to photos, with voice over. Photos: Steven with group of students dressed up as space-age beekeepers, and two colleagues, at an assembly; a group of students and model structures they have built, with Steven and two colleagues.]

"I think technology provides teachers—and myself—with opportunities, if we can use it effectively. It also increases …"

[Cut back to Steven in the interview setting.]

"… the ability to collaborate effectively with lots of experts around the world. Examples of that is our raised beds. We looked at a sustainability model in Sweden where they use alfalfa hay bales for half the raised bed and then that absorbs water, creates a nutrient bed that provides all the nutrients plants need for up to five years."

[Cut to photos, with voice over. Photos: Steven behind a podium during his presentation to fellow participants in best practices in his classroom; various recipients looking at printed materials during a break in the best practices sessions; Steven and other recipients listening and smiling during a recipient's presentation; Steven with Paul Thompson, Associate Deputy Minister, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, having received his Prime Minister's Awards pin; Steven and other recipients playing around in the Crazy Kitchen at the Canada Science and Technology Museum]

"I've met some remarkable, remarkable other teachers. That I'm not alone, it's really comforting to know that there are other teachers taking big risks and taking chances and making sacrifices. If I could give one message to my students …"

[Cut back to Steven in the interview setting.]

"Don't stop pursuing after your passions and dreams. Seize every single opportunity that you have but don't forget to stop and say 'thank you' and then give back to the people that helped you get there."

[Fade to black, with the Government of Canada FIP and then the Canada Wordmark appearing in white.]

Get in touch!

École Secondaire Lacombe
Composite High School
5628 56 Avenue
Lacombe AB T4L 1G6
403-782-6615
https://elchs.wolfcreek.ab.ca/
https://unitedroboticslacombe.weebly.com
Facebook: @LCHS.FOG

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