Northern Virginia Students and Their Families Get Exposed to iSTEAM


The Northern Virginia District PTA partnered with the Arlington County Special Education PTA (SEPTA) and the Fairfax County Special Education PTA (SEPTA) to host an iSTEAM Expo on September 7 for Northern Virginia students with special needs and their families. This first-of-its-kind event, held at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia, featured various stations for students and their families to conduct science experiments, ask questions about STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), learn about music and art, as well as engage with exhibitors about potential STEAM opportunities at and for their schools and within their communities. Exhibitors that participated during the event include: Mathnasium of NOVA, USTA Mid-Atlantic, 3D Me, AllStar Photo Booth, Fun Services, Virginia529, The Downs Syndrome Association of NOVA, Arc of NOVA, Formed Families Forward, FCPS Parent Resource Center, Arlington CPS Parent Resource Center, Sliding Doors STEM & Dyslexia Learning Center, Arlington County Therapeutic Recreation Office, NOVA Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons, Parents of Autistic Children-NoVA, ADC Cheer, Educational Theatre Company, Kat & Mo Art Studios, Original Works, Arlington SEPTA, Fairfax SEPTA, Washington Nationals, National PTA, and Bayer. Here is a listing of exhibitors from the September 7 event – 2019 Exhibitors Hall_NOVA District PTA (FINAL Flyer_Sept. 7, 2019)

The September 7 event was made possible through the National PTA STEM+Families Grant Program Initiative designed to increase access to STEM education and careers, especially among under-represented youth, by developing, evaluating and sharing effective ways to engage families in STEM experiences, while working with partners to improve access to STEM school and community learning environments. The initiative is consistent with PTA’s vision that all students have the family and community support needed to access and pursue STEM opportunities and careers. The initiative is also consistent with PTA’s mission to make every child’s potential a reality.

One of the students that attended the event was Ben, a Fairfax County student, who uses a letter board with a communication partner to communicate. Ben met with PTA leaders during the event and indicated, “This iSTEAM event presented by the local county special education PTAs and the Northern Virginia District PTA was totally innovative and great! It is so necessary and important to expose all students to the wonders and value of math and science regardless of labels.”

3D-Me, a company based in Vienna, Virginia that provides introductory 3D photography (scanning), 3D printing, and computer-aided design workshops to students and teachers, engaged with students and their families about using 3D technology to make keepsake figurines. Bruce Wyman, Chief Strategy Officer, 3D-Me, and a STEAM teacher within the Fairfax County public school system, indicated, “It was a great event with wonderful educational sessions for students and their families as well as PTA leaders.”

The NOVA District PTA, the Arlington County SEPTA, and the Fairfax County SEPTA look forward to hosting this type of event for students with special needs and their families again with the support from the business community and various community organizations.

Pictures from the September 7 event are below.

Further inquiries can be directed to Debbie Kilpatrick, District Director, NOVA District PTA, at