SYSTEMIC EFFORTS TO IMPROVE TEACHER QUALITY IN STEM CREATES PROGRAMS WITH POTENTIAL TO INCREASE DIVERSITY: WILL THIS INSPIRE THE NEXT GENERATION OF GEOSCIENTIST?
Techniques and activities were integrated with EarthComm to teach Earth Science at TC Williams HS. The student’s average reading level were 3 to 5 years below grade. Literacy strategies were integrated and Project SHARE (Science History And Reading Education) evolved to build science and language literacy at the same time and was applied to 348 students over 3 years with impressive results. ESL passing rates on the Earth Science end of year exam increased from 17 to 60%; “At Risk” from 70 to 75%; and Special Needs from 50 to 85%. At least 98% of the students graduated and 50% are in a STEM field.
The positive results inspired the implementation of these methods to improve teacher quality. USF Polytechnic used the methods in science and math methods to prepare 180 middle and elementary school teachers. The CLASS and SHARE projects were combined and modified to include literacy in mathematics and a higher focus on PBL creating the ASAP Program (Accelerated STEM Academic Pipeline). The goal was to improve teacher quality and student proficiency in math and science in Title 1 middle schools; 50 participants learned content and how to integrate common core STEM concepts to build activities and curriculum. Two middle schools developed their own STEM programs and two STEM Specialists are teaching these strategies across their county.
Everyone is valuable and deserves a meaningful education has become a systemic part of improving STEM education. The CLASS project has inspired SHARE, ASAP, and the beginnings of IAGD.