By Team iCEV on January 17, 2020 at 8:14 AM
Each month, we recognize a teacher who is helping students achieve success by using innovative and outstanding methods. This month, we are excited to recognize Robert Stahlke as the January iCEV Teacher of the Month.
An alumnus of Washington State University, Stahlke entered education as a biology teacher at Shadow Ridge HS. After four years, his department chair persuaded Stahlke to teach an upper-level forensic science class in addition to his biology course load. Stahlke found his calling while teaching the forensic science course. At the time Stahlke began teaching forensic science, the class was just an elective option at Shadow Ridge. However, under Stahlke’s leadership, the forensic science course grew and was added as a pathway in the CTE Department.
Today, Stahlke oversees the Shadow Ridge forensic science program, where he has implemented iCEV materials for the past three years. The approximately 260 students are divided into three levels. In the first year of the program, students learn how to process various types of crime scenes, as well as the history and value of forensic science. Year two of the program is focused on forensic labs where students learn how to test and interpret ballistics, DNA, toxicology, fingerprinting and blood spatter analyses. The first semester of level three concentrates on forensic specialties, including death investigations, autopsy processes, forensic anthropology, forensic psychology and entomology. In their second semester, level three students build crime scenes for the level one students to implement the knowledge and skills they have learned throughout the year. After concluding the third year, Stahlke’s students complete an end of pathway exam which correlates to college credits.
Stahlke also offers an advanced studies forensic class where students follow independent study programs. Several of Stahlke’s students in this course are members of the Metro Explorer Program, a program created to educate and involve local youth in police operations designed to encourage young people to pursue a career in law enforcement. As members of this elite group, these Shadow Ridge students shadow crime lab and crime scene investigation units in the Clark County Police Department.
“The iCEV materials helped these students to have a strong content background, and because of that, they had more confidence going into the labs and working with forensic professionals,” said Stahlke.
In his forensic science classes, Stahlke balances a mixture of lectures and hands-on activities, and he uses iCEV materials to ensure all students have the opportunity to learn and thrive in his classes. Stahlke said, “I need something easy for the students to access and do at their own pace because we have different learning styles and different ability levels, and the fact that we can use iCEV as a supplement and for review purposes is valuable to me.”
Stahlke uses the iCEV curriculum to lead class lessons, as well as for supplemental tools when necessary. Prior to the end of pathway exam, Stahlke encourages his level three students to review all of the lessons and materials in iCEV to prepare for the exam. Currently, Stahlke follows a rotational schedule where two days of class are spent learning content while the next days are spent doing activities and collaborative assignments, allowing students to implement the knowledge they gained from class lectures.
Since implementing iCEV in his classes, Stahlke found he has more time to plan and create activities for his students. Because forensic science is a mostly hands-on field, Stahlke believes students should be able to both understand and practice forensic methods and skills.
“I use iCEV to create a better, more hands-on environment,” said Stahlke, “I know the students are going to get the correct content that meets state standards from iCEV, so I don’t have to worry about that aspect. Instead, I can focus on developing more collaborative, engaging assignments.”
At iCEV, we want to recognize teachers like Robert Stahlke who work tirelessly to set their students up for educational and career success. If you know a teacher who deserves to be recognized, nominate them for iCEV Teacher of the Month by contacting Kimberly Cantrell at firstname.lastname@example.org or (806) 745-8820.