Dart's Minds Inspired programme has become well known for its support of academics focused on STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — subjects.

Many Cayman Islands students have been recognised over the years for their achievements in various STEM-based initiatives. On May 25, Dart announced it would recognise another important element in its STEM initiative: the educators themselves. The Dart Minds Inspired Award for Excellence in Teaching STEM will launch with the start of the 2018/2019 academic year.

For years educators held up "reading, writing and arithmetic" as the foundation of a good education. While these skills remain vital educational building blocks, in today’s technological world many believe that to prepare young people for future jobs there should also be a focus on STEM subjects.

This is where schools and teachers enter the conversation. Schools with strong STEM programmes have committed knowledgeable teachers and STEM resources. They have teachers who look for ways to make STEM interesting, who introduce innovative ways of teaching and who always encourage students to try one more time, enter one more competition, or conduct one last experiment.

The goal of the Dart Minds Inspired Award for Excellence in Teaching STEM is to support and encourage the growth of STEM in the Cayman Islands by rewarding and recognising excellence in teaching STEM, and to provide school grants to purchase STEM-related resources.

Dart Enterprises CEO Mark VanDevelde said the company was committed to supporting STEM education in Cayman Islands schools.

“STEM classes teach more than the subjects being studied," he said. "They are a meaningful way for students to learn collaboration, critical thinking, communication and creativity — skills that are vital for success in today's workplace.”

The award will recognise teachers of STEM subjects from public or private schools in the Cayman Islands. Once nominated, teachers must confirm their intent to participate. They will be assessed by a panel of judges who will select two recipients (primary and high school) annually. Honourees will be announced in February 2019.

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