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National, state and local education advocates are partnering to launch a pilot program in Maryland to train math and science teachers in best practices to encourage more women and minority students to consider courses and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
The National Alliance for Partnership in Equity (NAPE) has teamed with the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) and the Maryland State Department of Education to run the program—the Educators’ Equity STEM Academy—which is designed to increase recruitment, academic performance and students' completion in STEM courses. The initiative is funded through a $886,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The academy will help community college faculty and high school teachers to select, develop and evaluate teaching tools, resources and strategies to improve student outcomes, said Mimi Lufkin, CEO of NAPE Education Foundation.
"In-person and virtual educator-based learning communities will create an environment for educators to effectively address implicit biases which cause inequities in the classroom,” she said.
Fifteen CCBC STEM faculty from three campuses will test run the academy in its first year, providing input on the delivery, content and use of adapted instructional materials.
In the second and third years, 50 educators will participate and create a statewide high school-to-community college transition pipeline in STEM courses and career programs. CyberWatch and the TIME Center (both NSF-funded, Maryland-based Advanced Technology Education Centers), Baltimore County Public School and the state education department will provide help to recruit other educators from around the state.
“Community college faculty and high school teachers in Maryland will benefit from this professional growth opportunity through five days of rigorous instruction followed by a year of facilitated coaching and high quality resources to improve classroom pedagogy,” said Katharine Oliver, Maryland’s assistant superintendent of career and college readiness.
Participants in the academy will receive professional development credits through CCBC. In addition, NAPE-EF will distribute products and services through the academy through its network of 40 state education agencies and community colleges throughout the U.S.
The academy adapted its research-based instructional materials from strategies developed and delivered to physics teachers in 2003-2004 in the Dallas Independent School District in Texas. Between 2005 and 2008, the number of girls completing the course and taking the AP physics test increased by 20 percent, according to officials. The pass rate among girls was 139 percent higher in classes where teachers had participated in the professional development compared to those who did not. Boys also experienced a 70 percent increase in their pass rates.
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