TI and Educate Texas support renowned speaker on STEM education reform

Texas Instruments recently hosted “STEM Education: Key to Economic Success”, the first of a series of education thought leadership speaker programs,  intended to inspire North Texas education leaders and corporate supporters.  This initial program was sponsored in collaboration with Educate Texas, an initiative of Communities Foundation of Texas.

The program held Nov. 1 at the Communities Foundation of Texas featured nationally recognized STEM expert Dr. Shirley Malcom and attracted about 35 engaged STEM education leaders for the presentation and Q&A.

Dr. Malcom, who heads Education and Human Resources for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), was interviewed by Dee Chambliss of Educate Texas, an alliance of public and private groups that share the common goal of improving public education.

Dr. Malcom described her unit’s mission within AAAS as “bringing science to people and people to science.”

“Everyone needs a good grounding in science to lead a good life,” she said.  She recommended several strategies to interest students is science and engineering:

Positioning these fields as “helping professions”.  Many students today, particularly girls who are often underrepresented in STEM, are looking to “help people and make a difference in the world”, she said.

Starting early in preschool and encouraging young children in simple math in everyday activities (i.e. counting the plates when setting the table, sorting socks).

Introducing science and math to students on their own terms (i.e. digital arts, using new tools).

Using the entire community for teaching and learning (i.e. Scouts, libraries, museums).

“It’s a matter of helping people understand -- parents, grandparents and students -- the opportunities that exist to guide them and support them.  It’s everything from considering the toys we give to taking kids to libraries,” she said.  “You can’t teach everyone everything they need to know but  you can situate them for a lifetime of learning.”

She encouraged the attendees, particularly corporate supporters to “have more voice and make clear by their presence that there is advocacy for this – bring a voice for transformation.”  She also asked them to provide “strategic vision” and “demand evidence of success just as if we you were buying anything else.”  She asked that those in the STEM fields be “visible and present to young people”.

Dr. Malcom was followed by U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, who thanked Dr. Malcom, TI and Educate Texas and encouraged the audience in their work to ensure that public education prepares every Texas student for success in college and the workforce.

source: http://www.edtx.org/media-center/news/ti-and-educate-texas-support-renowned-speaker-on-stem-education-reform/

Students test their technological mettle in Texas BEST robotics competition in Garland

Nearly 60 teams of middle and high school students carried in robots made of wheels, PVC pipe and wood for the annual Texas BEST Regional Robotics Championship in Garland on November 10.

Filling the arena floor of the Curtis Culwell Center, students from Texas, New Mexico and Arizona made final tweaks to the contraptions they had been working on for six weeks to compete in this year’s game portion in the regional competition, hosted by the University of Texas at Dallas.

The game is a prominent part of the weekend competition, which also includes judges’ assessments of presentation skills and team spirit. The object of Saturday’s game was for teams to have their small robots lift a cargo of plastic bottles and balls 10 feet off the ground with a pulley device.

“The level of competition is really high,” said Mackenzie O’Brien, 17, a member of the team from The Hockaday School. “It’s been wonderful. None of us, in our robotics careers, have been to a competition this big.”

The competition began with 58 teams, but judges narrowed the field throughout the day until only four teams remained in the final round.

Students compete for a number of awards, but the top honor is the BEST award, which goes to the team that exhibits the concepts of “boosting engineering, science and technology.” A team from SAIL Home School in Collin County snagged that trophy, and a team from the Birdville Center of Technology and Advanced Learning in North Richland Hills won the game award.

Parents, teachers and school bands filled much of the arena, cheering and creating a pep-rally atmosphere. Band members held 2-foot-tall letters spelling out “STEM” for science, technology, engineering and math.

Everyone who stepped into “the pit,” as the arena floor was called, had to wear goggles as protection against any parts that might pop off the robots.

The students, many wearing matching team shirts, huddled around their robots and moved steadily closer to the front of the game arena as teams rotated through the competition.

To get to the regional level, teams had to earn a top spot in their local “hubs.” Teams from The Hockaday School, St. Mark’s School of Texas, Rockwall High School and Dallas ISD’s School for the Talented and Gifted were in the Dallas BEST hub, for example.

After winning in their hubs, teams receive kits to build new robots using raw materials that were paid for by sponsors, such as Texas Instruments, Raytheon and other major companies in the industry.

The competition, which was started by Texas Instruments employees Ted Mahler and Steve Marum, is in its 20th year.

“There are so many disciplines covered there,” Mahler said. “The presentations, the spirit — they’re involved in so much more than just engineering.”

Among the aspects teams were judged on was presentation, including the booths that teams used and the methods they used to present their product. They were also judged on the spirit of their team supporters in the stands.

“The band, the cheerleaders, they’re always there for the football team, so it’s cool they come out for the robotics team,” said Kenneth Berry, regional director of Texas BEST and assistant director of UT Dallas’ Science and Engineering Education Center.

Patricia Anderson, 23, is a software engineer at Raytheon and was a judge of presentation at the competition. She took part in the competition from 2003 to 2006 when she was at Liberty Christian School in Argyle.

“This was a big part in my wanting to be an engineer. I learned about leadership and being a follower,” Anderson said. “There’s something for every person here.”

Khrystian Rice, 17, a member of the team from Anna High School, said she appreciated the different aspects of the BEST competition.

“You try to be the biggest and loudest in the stands; then down here, you try to be the best and brightest with your robot,” she said. “I don’t know if I want to go into engineering necessarily, but I do want to start a business, and the teamwork and skills learned here will help that.”



source: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/education/headlines/20121110-students-test-their-technological-mettle-in-texas-best-robotics-competition-in-garland.ece

Seminario recognized at STEM conference for outstanding technical achievement

Dr. Jorge M. Seminario, holder of the Fox Professorship and a professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, was recognized at the 2012 HENAAC Conference, powered by Great Minds in STEM.

Seminario was recognized for outstanding technical achievement in academia. He was cited for making "some of the most
important contributions the field of nanotechnology has seen over the last two decades."

HENAAC is the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corp. The HENAAC Conference is the nation's most prestigous stage for honoring excellence, building and reinforcing networks, and strengthening company, and agency pride. The conference encompasses the finest technical minds from top executives and cutting-edge professionals, to the brightest STEM students and representatives from multiple STEM organizations. It continues to be the premier venue for top corporate, military, and academic leaders to come together with students to discuss and improve the mission of inspiring and motivating more underserved students to achieve careers in STEM.

Seminario's research focuses on nanotechnology, working on the analysis, design and simulation of systems and materials of nanometer dimensions, especially those for the development of nanosensors and molecular electronics. One of his major goals is to design smaller electronic devices and other systems in order to increase their efficiency, speed and energy savings, as well as reduce their costs. He has developed new scenarios for molecular devices and systems using molecular potentials and molecular vibrations for processing and transport of information at nanometer scales.

Seminario earned a bachelor's degree from the Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria (Lima, Peru), and master's and Ph.D. degrees from Southern Illinois University.


source: http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2012/11/02/seminario-recognized-at-stem-conference-for-outstanding-technical-achievement

Hillsboro: School District Wins $25,000 Grant For Math & Science Education

Hillsboro ISD will receive $25,000 in grant money through the Monsanto Fund to enhance math and science education.

The school district was selected as a winner in the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education initiative, which is merit based.

The program gives farmers the opportunity to nominate their public school district to apply for a $10,000 or $25,000 grant.

Hillsboro was selected as one of nine winners.

More than $2.3 million will be invested in rural education across 39 states, a spokesperson for the grant said.


source: http://www.kwtx.com/ourtown/home/headlines/Hillsboro-School-District-Wins-25000-Grant-For-Math--Science-Education-176470481.html

Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk Gets $1.5 Million to Create Algebra Readiness Curriculum

AUSTIN, Texas — The Institute of Education Sciences has awarded University of Texas at Austin professor Diane Pedrotty Bryant a $1.5 million grant to develop mathematics modules designed to improve low-performing students’ algebra readiness.

“Several studies show that success in algebra coursework is linked to increased achievement in secondary and postsecondary education and to higher paying jobs,” said Bryant, a special education professor in the College of Education and Fellow in the Audrey Rogers Myers Centennial Professorship in Education. “Algebra is a particularly difficult challenge for students who exhibit persistently low mathematics performance. To realize success in algebra, a student needs prerequisite background mathematics knowledge, and many of our struggling students don’t have that.”

The grant, called Project AIM, will be used to create algebra-readiness intervention modules (AIMs) for sixth- and seventh-graders. Twenty-four intervention teachers in Texas and Missouri and about 500 sixth- and seventh-graders who scored below the 25th percentile on a mathematics universal screening tool will participate in the project.

“Students face rigorous curriculum standards and graduation requirements that demand mastery of algebra content knowledge,” said Bryant, who is director of the Mathematics Institute for Learning Disabilities and Difficulties, located in the College of Education’s Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk. “Unfortunately, limited conceptual understanding of pre-algebra math impedes success in algebra coursework, which in turn contributes to difficulty passing exit exams.”

During the first two years of the three-year grant, Bryant and her colleagues will conduct learning trials and feasibility studies at middle schools in Texas and Missouri. Research teams will develop and refine interventions based on how the lessons are influencing students’ learning outcomes. Student performance as well as student and teacher satisfaction with the modules will help the researchers refine the modules in preparation for small-scale experimental studies in the third year.

Bryant said that these modules are a direct response to secondary teachers’ requests for more instructional resources to help them teach low-performing students. Project AIM is specifically designed to give teachers tools for intervention teaching.

Bryant has published extensively and been principal investigator on several grants that focus on education interventions for students with learning difficulties and disabilities. She is co-editor of the Learning Disability Quarterly and has served as president of the national Council for Learning Disabilities.

For more information, contact: Kay Randall, Office of the President, 512 232 3910.



source: http://www.utexas.edu/news/2012/10/31/meadows-center-for-preventing-educational-risk-grant-algebra-readiness-curriculum/

BISD receives $10,000 grant to support STEM program

The Brownsville Independent School District’s efforts to improve curriculum in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics have received a boost from local farmers, the Monsanto Fund and America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education,

BISD received a $10,000 grant to support STEM Infinity Magnet programs in the district’s 11 middle schools.

Classes began this year with 100 sixth grade students at each campus and will grow one grade level per year for the next three years.

America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, gives farmers the opportunity to nominate a public school district in their community to compete for a grant of either $10,000 or $25,000 to enhance education in the areas of math and/or science. More than 1,000 nominated school districts submitted applications. The Monsanto Fund will invest $2.3 million into rural education through this program.

“By directing these funds into our STEM Infinity Magnet Program, we hope to help further a vision of sustainability and innovation in order to protect and preserve our planet,” BISD Superintendent Carl A. Montoya said. “Brownsville ISD is honored to receive this grant. These funds will directly impact many of our students who are enrolled in the new STEM Infinity Magnet Program at 11 district middle schools.”

After being nominated by local farmers, school districts completed an online application, and finalists were chosen by math and science teachers from ineligible school districts. The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council, a group of 26 prominent farmers from across the country, then reviewed the finalists’ applications and selected the winners.

“We sincerely thank our local farmers for nominating our school district for this prestigious award from the Monsanto Fund,” Montoya said. “Our students will benefit the most from this partnership, which in turn will benefit our community.”

BISD was presented with the $10,000 grant during a presentation at the Vela Middle School Gymnasium on Monday.

America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education started with a successful pilot in Illinois and Minnesota in 2011, in which farmers were given the opportunity to nominate a public school district in 165 eligible counties in those two states. The Monsanto Fund awarded more than $266,000 to local schools in 16 CRDs. Now, the program has expanded to 1,245 eligible counties in 39 states.


source: http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/local/article_0d081aa2-1d82-11e2-af77-0019bb30f31a.html

University of Houston Launches Nation's First Subsea Engineering Master's Program

Officials from the University of Houston (UH) recently announced in a press release that they have received the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's approval to launch the country's first subsea engineering master's degree program. The course of study, which is set to begin in fall 2013, will give students the technical and scientific skills they need to become subsea engineering specialists.

Today, experts believe billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas are hidden beneath the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. However, as these important energy sources are frequently buried 10,000 feet below water, subsea engineers are needed to determine how to access them despite freezing temperatures, corrosive seawater and a great deal of water pressure.

"This is the latest effort UH has established in support of the area's energy sector," Matthew Franchek , founding director of the university's subsea program and a mechanical engineering professor, said. "Through this program, UH will produce students with a detailed understanding of how to overcome the unique challenges of deepwater exploration. They will be equipped with the skills needed to design better solutions to the obstacles encountered in underwater drilling."

While this will be the nation's first subsea engineering master's program, various institutions in the U.K. have already launched similar programs, including Scotland's University of Aberdeen and England's Newcastle University. 



source: http://www.usnewsuniversitydirectory.com/articles/university-of-houston-launches-nations-first-subse_12724.aspx#.UIm1yhzO75l

HCC, UT-Tyler partner to create local engineering degree

Houston Community College and the University of Texas at Tyler have signed a deal to create a four-year engineering degree program for HCC’s Alief campus, meaning students there can attain a UT-Tyler engineering degree.

The community college said the savings for students would amount to 50 percent by staying on the Alief campus, and the total cost would wring out to $22,500. Alief is located a few miles west of the Sam Houston Tollway, near Meadows Place.

HCC said in a statement the new program is designed to support the education of a workforce need in the area in the engineering field.

Students in Houston can complete an associate of science degree at HCC and then transfer to UT Tyler’s Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Program. But starting in fall 2013, students in Houston can attend the UT-Tyler program at the university’s new Houston Center for Engineering at the Alief campus.


source: http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/morning_call/2012/10/hcc-ut-tyler-partner-to-create-local.html

U. of Texas aims to use MOOCs to reduce costs, increase completion

So far the universities partnering with edX and Coursera on massive open online courses (MOOCs) have focused on the ideal of lowering the barriers to elite courses.

But edX’s newest partner, the University of Texas System, has more pragmatic ambitions. It wants to use them to get more students through college more quickly and for less money.

“We’re trying to move the MOOC model,” said Steve Mintz, executive director of the Texas system's Institute for Transformational Learning, in an interview.

Cost and completion issues have turned the state of Texas into a proving ground for unconventional ideas such as outsourced online competency-based learning and the $10,000 bachelor’s degree. Now the University of Texas will enter MOOCs into the equation with the hope that it will make a Texas degree less expensive for some students.

The goal is to develop MOOCs that can stand up to the scrutiny of the normal faculty approval processes at the system’s various campus, then award credit to students who pass them.

The Texas system believes making certain “bridge” courses — low-level courses that typically count toward multiple degree pathways — available as MOOCs will make it less likely that students will be locked out of those courses on their own campuses, said Mintz, who will lead the implementation of the partnership agreement.

“Some students tell us that they are closed out of classes because those classes are over-enrolled or aren’t being offered that semester,” he said.

Another way MOOCs could give students a cheaper path to a Texas degree is that some universities in the system may elect to charge below market for the credits earned through massive courses, which will theoretically cost less to deliver. Access to the course would be free and open to everyone, but the universities would charge student enrolled at Texas for the opportunity to redeem their learning for credit.

“It’s going to be up to the campuses how much to charge,” said Mintz. “And it’s conceivable that these classes would have a reduced tuition rate.”

Universities in the Texas system may award credit for MOOCs from edX’s other partners, which currently include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley. “I’m reasonably sure that at least some of the campuses will take that option, based on conversations,” he said.

Texas will have the opportunity to make money by awarding non-credit certificates to MOOC participants who are not enrolled in the system. A university might award a Texas-branded certificate in exchange for a “modest fee” and worthy scores on a “meaningful, proctored exam.” (edX recently signed a deal with Pearson VUE to hold such exams at Pearson’s many testing centers.)

As part of the agreement with edX, which is a nonprofit, Texas will keep 100 percent of the profits it makes from its own MOOCs, said Mintz. The agreement also reportedly calls for a $5 million investment from the Texas system.

Texas faculty may worry that awarding credit for über-scalable MOOCs could be the first step toward eliminating local versions of those courses — and faculty jobs with them. “We have no intention of doing that,” said Mintz.

Professors who are inclined to distrust the university’s reassurances may take comfort in the fact that MOOCs so far have seen dropout rates that most institutions would find unacceptable. Out of 155,000 registrants for edX’s inaugural course in electrical engineering, only 7,000 earned a passing grade on the final exam.

But for Anant Agarwal, the president of edX, poor retention in the early courses, which were built to be particularly challenging, does not mean a MOOC aimed at less well-prepared students is doomed to fail.

“That is one of the particular exciting things about the University of Texas coming on board,” said Agarwal in an interview on Monday in Boston, where he had just given the keynote talk at a meeting of the New England Board of Higher Education.

“It is the largest and most diverse system and has a large number of first-generation [students],” he said. “And they and we all see online learning as a way of increasing the success rate. And for that the [low-level, high-enrollment] courses are going to be key.”

And edX is not done with completion-oriented partnerships. Agarwal says edX has received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop MOOCs aimed at community college students.

“We’ll be announcing community college partners soon,” he said. “We’ve narrowed it down and have got the final agreements in place.”

source: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/10/16/u-texas-aims-use-moocs-reduce-costs-increase-completion#ixzz29SCXrl4E


NASA and Laying the Foundation Team Up to Transform STEM Education

Under a new Space Act Agreement (SAA), NASA and national teacher training program Laying the Foundation, a division of the National Math and Science Initiative, are joining forces to transform education for middle and high school students. By developing NASA mission-based lessons and targeting professional development opportunities among science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) educators, the two organizations aim to increase secondary students' college readiness and interest in STEM majors and careers.

NASA's Human Research Program Education Outreach (HRPEO), at NASA Johnson Space Center, and Laying the Foundation will collaborate to develop rigorous classroom-ready lessons using authentic NASA data. Over the last year, LTF math and science staff have served as external reviewers for HRPEO lessons, participated in "Geek Week" at Johnson Space Center, and developed plans for joint lesson development during the 2013 school year.*

The inquiry-based, real-world math and science activities being developed through the SAA will be used in LTF's teacher training program to provide teachers with more tools to promote critical thinking and build student interest in STEM careers. All lessons created under this agreement will be posted on the LTF and NASA websites, referenced in LTF's online teacher forums, and available for use by educators across the country.

As U.S. educational achievement in the fields of math and science continues to lag behind other countries, teachers, administrators, thought leaders, and politicians are calling for resources and attention to be diverted to a focus on STEM. The new collaboration between NASA and the National Math and Science Initiative's Laying the Foundation program, which has trained more than 50,000 teachers and administrators, presents more tools to help students, schools, and districts achieve new heights while vaulting STEM education to the forefront in America.

"There is no better way to increase America's passion for STEM subjects than to combine the irresistibly engaging lessons developed by LTF with the fascinating work from NASA scientists. Students win and this will truly transform learning in our schools," said Tom Luce, National Math and Science Initiative Board Chair. 


source: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/10/22/4928648/nasa-and-laying-the-foundation.html

University of Texas Joins Harvard-MIT EdX Online Venture

The University of Texas System plans to put up $5 million to join the EdX online venture, started by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to help meet demand for low-cost college courses.

The Texas system, based in Austin and overseeing nine universities, will quadruple the number of schools involved in EdX, which offers free online courses to anyone over the Internet. The state-supported Texas schools have been encouraged by Governor Rick Perry to cut the cost of college education.

“The UT System’s partnership with EdX is great news for Texas and exactly the type of effort I hope more schools will consider as we aggressively pursue the goals of improving graduation rates and making a college education more accessible and affordable,” Perry, 62, said today in a statement.

Texas follows the University of California, Berkeley, in joining EdX. Harvard and MIT, both based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, announced the venture May 2. The two founding schools each chipped in $30 million to finance the not-for- profit organization. A “modest fee” will be charged for those who want certificates for completing a course in the future, according to a statement on the EdX website.

Currently, students pay nothing to enroll and take classes online, while those who pay tuition to attend the participating schools can earn credit by completing EdX courses.

Cutting Cost

Perry, a Republican, has pressed public colleges and universities in Texas to offer $10,000 bachelor’s degree programs and to freeze tuition levels for four years for each incoming class, to provide cost certainty and an incentive to graduate on time.

After raising tuition by an average 7 percent annually over the past 30 years and seeing student debt soar, U.S. universities face a fiscal cliff with state and federal aid declining, said Steven Mintz, executive director of the Texas system’s Institute for Transformational Learning. In addition to its stake in EdX, the system plans to set aside another $5 million to design online courses, he said.

“Students already are taking many online classes, but many are of poor quality,” Mintz said. “This is an effort in part to ensure students take courses we consider to be rigorous and effective.”

The shift to online college-credit courses is occurring three to five years faster than expected because of demand from students and universities, said Anant Agarwal, president of Cambridge-based EdX and an MIT professor.

Not Enough

Most universities realize major structural changes are needed, though moving lectures online doesn’t go far enough, said Jeff Sandefer, a Perry adviser who taught entrepreneurship courses at the University of Texas and started the Austin-based Acton School of Business, which offers graduate management degrees. EdX and Coursera, another university group offering free online studies, “will hasten the flight of full-price customers to less-expensive alternatives, accelerating the demise of traditional academia,” Sandefer said by e-mail.

The University of Texas System plans to offer introductory courses at first, such as those typically taken by 100 or more students in lecture halls at its flagship Austin campus, Mintz said. Programs will be added from other campuses including the medical school in Houston. The classes will start next year.

Coursera, started by two Stanford University computer scientists last year, has signed contracts with 33 schools including Stanford and Princeton University, spokeswoman Iz Conroy said. Coursera received a combined $18 million in initial funding from venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates, plus a combined $3.7 million from the University of Pennsylvania and the California Institute of Technology, Conroy said.

“EdX is as well-funded as any startup and better funded than almost anyone else,” Mintz said. “We aren’t without arms in this arms race.”

source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-15/university-of-texas-joining-harvard-mit-online-venture.html


West Texas A&M gets federal grant to boost science, math

West Texas A&M University received a five-year, $1.25 million federal grant to bolster science and math education for high school students, university officials said.

The university plans to use the money for its Upward Bound Math-Science program, WT officials said in a news release. The program works with first-generation, low-income high school students who express interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, the release said.

The grant, funded U.S. Education Department, is part of federal programs that provide educational opportunities focused on post-secondary education for first-generation, low-income students, the release said.

It will provide $250,000 per year for 60 students from Hereford High School and Palo Duro High School.



source: http://amarillo.com/news/local-news/2012-10-09/wt-receives-125-million-grant-boost-science-math-education

City Backs Austin Technology Education Labs Partnership

To support Austin’s thriving technology industry, city officials voted today to back the Austin Technology Education Labs partnership.


The initiative, known as The Labs, will feature a series of educational and others meetings and events by the Austin Technology Council and its members and the city.


The Labs will focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, innovation, entrepreneurs and other critical areas of the technology industry.


In addition to the city and the Austin Technology Council, San Francisco-based Engine Advocacy and the ATC Community Foundation will execute the programs.


“We are so fortunate to have such an abundance of technology innovation here in Austin,” Council Member and Emerging Technology Committee Chair Laura Morrison who co-sponsored the resolution, said in a news release.


“This partnership, and the united voice for tech growth that it represents, quite simply sets our market apart from any other market in the country,” ATC president Julie Huls said in a statement.



source: http://www.siliconhillsnews.com/2012/09/27/city-backs-austin-technology-education-labs-partnership/

UTeach gets Latino STEM teachers into classrooms

Rudy Lopez, a teacher at Nyos Charter School in Texas, never thought he would end up as a high school teacher. When he started college he was set on majoring in math. But all of that changed when he heard about UTeach.

“Both of my parents are teachers. I really didn’t want to teach,” Lopez says. “But then I got a pamphlet in the mail and I kind of liked it.”

UTeach is a program dedicated to increasing the number of certified STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teacher graduates. One of the major problems facing many schools today is a shortage of qualified and effective math and science teachers. According to the National Math and Science Initiative nearly one-third of high school mathematics students and two-thirds of physical science students have teachers who did not major in the subject in college or are not certified to teach the subject.

UTeach aims to solve that problem by partnering with universities all over the country to promote STEM teaching. Students in the program get their degree in their STEM content area but also participate in a teacher preparation program which includes special courses on math and science content and teaching and extensive fieldwork. Ninety percent of UTeach graduates enter teaching and five years later, 80 percent are still in the classroom.

It was the hands-on experience that drew Lopez into the program. Lopez says that once he got in the classroom, he never came back out.

“I started out just doing math,” Lopez says. “But then I went into the program and started teaching at schools and I ended up really liking it and the feedback from the kids.”

Lopez continued to take the math classes he was interested in, but also had additional UTeach classes, where he went into classrooms to teach and observe several times a semester. That was one area that Lopez felt a more traditional career path in a STEM field would not provide.

“I think that because it had the hands on full experience of teaching I was able to test it out,” Lopez explains. “If I wanted to do the same thing in engineering, you wouldn’t really be doing what you’re supposed to be doing. To get the experience as an engineer I would have to finish school.”

Hands-on experience was the main draw of the program for Maria Negley, a UTeach graduate and a  high school teacher now in her third year at Manor New Technology school in Austin, Texas. For Negley, UTeach’s classwork-based approach combined with a supportive staff is what convinced her to stay in the program. She cites the program’s signature first course called Step 1, which provides students with teaching and lesson plan experience right from the start.

“Theres a bunch of people who leave teaching because they realize that it’s a little bit tougher than what they thought, but the program was very supportive so it was hard for me to leave,” Negley says.

UTeach also offers paid internships for their students, so that they can make career connections while working with kids.  Negley says she credits her internship with the teaching job at New Tech that she holds today.

“I was able to go into public schools and I was getting some experience. In college, math was one of my favorite subjects, and it seemed kind of natural to me,” Negley says. After interning with New Tech, Negley says they hired her right on the spot.

UTeach’s support for its students doesn’t end when they graduate. For Kristela Garcia, UTeach graduate and now teacher at John B Connally High School in Texas, UTeach’s support after graduation is unmatched. Some of the support she describes includes an education job fair, mock interviews, professional development workshops and even help with purchasing supplies for the classroom.

“There’s so many resources that they can make available to you. Other teachers are just the greatest resource. They’re also working on website where you can upload lesson plans.” Garcia says. “As long as you’re a UTeach graduate, you never stop learning.”

For Lopez, working with UTeach has meant more than just being able to teach the subject he loves; he also feels that he is making a difference for his Latino students.

Twenty-nine percent of UTeach students come from Latino and African-American populations. That’s a significant number, given the disproportionately low national rate of Hispanics earning STEM certificates and degrees. According to a recent study by Excelencia in Education, Latinos earned just 8 percent of STEM degrees in 2009-2010. The number of those graduates who become teachers is even lower.

Lopez says he thinks its important for students to have teachers who are like them, especially in Texas, where he says over 50 percent of his students are Latino.

“I have access to a lot of kids,” Lopez says. “You can have more of a foot in the door when you connect with somebody.”

source: http://nbclatino.com/2012/09/25/education-nation-uteach-gets-latino-stem-teachers-into-classrooms/



UTPA opens new STEM center

UTPA opened a new center Monday to encourage more students to study science and math.

It's all part of a $3.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.

It’s called the Stem Center of Excellence in STEM Education.

Stem stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The goal of the center is to provide additional support for students, particularly minorities, who wish to study in these fields.

"We have new technologies in the stem center for students and faculties to come in and learn about new teaching methods to incorporate into their classroom and have the students experiment with the technologies to better engage in their teaching and research,” new director of the center, Cristina Villalobos said.

UTPA is one of just two other schools in the country getting the grant from the Department of Defense to encourage minorities to enter into math and science programs.

"We think it's a strategic imperative both for our economic prosperity and for the defense of the nation to grow future engineers and scientists and individuals who are well schooled in technology, because the security challenges we face in the future are increasingly complex, they involve technology solutions and we need the best minds in America to take up these studies,” vice chief of naval operations, Admiral Mark Ferguson said.

While the university does not offer PhD programs in these fields, they hope the center will provide the resources students need to further their education elsewhere.          


On average, those who graduate with a degree in stem fields are paid 26-percent more than those who don't.



source: http://www.valleycentral.com/news/story.aspx?id=804977#.UGIvjBzO75m

Study: state will need 715,000 new science/tech jobs by 2018

In the past decade, Texas-based corporations have invested hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) initiatives in our schools. From providing teacher training, to funding the first STEM school district in the state, corporate investment is aimed at building a competitive work force that will fill high-demand, high-paying jobs. In other words, it’s just good business. According to an October 2011 state-by-state analysis from Georgetown University:

• The Texas economy will need more than 715,000 STEM jobs by 2018, up from nearly 585,000 in 2008.

• STEM jobs will be 5 percent of all jobs in Texas in 2018, representing a 22 percent increase in STEM jobs.

• 14 percent of all jobs for master’s degree-holders and 25 percent of all jobs for Ph.D. holders in Texas will be in a STEM field by 2018.

A Collaborative Effort

The Texas Regional Collaboratives for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching (TRC), based at the University of Texas-Austin, provides high intensity professional development to PreK-12 science and math teachers throughout the state. "We provide experiences for teachers to help them build their math and science content knowledge outside of the normal realm of the classroom," says Carol Fletcher, associate director for the TRC.

These experiences have included a bus tour of West Texas oil fields with two Shell geologists and problem-solving workshops such as developing a water filtration system. In 2010-2011 the TRC served teachers in 779 school districts and charter schools and 2,800 campuses. The Texas Mathematics Regional Collaboratives served teachers in 816 districts and charter schools representing 2,485 campuses.

Susana Arredondo, an eighth grade math teacher at Jaime Escalante Middle School in the Pharr school district, says "They are constantly offering you training to make you better on specific topics in math and science."

As teachers become more knowledgeable about the real world demands of STEM jobs, they can pass it along to their students as well as dispel the stereotype students may have about STEM career paths.

The TRC consists of 58 institutions of higher education collaborating with the Texas Education Agency, Education Service Centers, school districts, and business partners including Shell Oil, AT&T and Lockheed Martin, to name a few.

 Corporate Support

Stepping up to fill the growing need, Dallas-based Texas Instruments (TI) Foundation recently committed up to $4.8 million over the next four years to Educate Texas, a public-private initiative of Communities Foundation of Texas, to partner with the Lancaster Independent School District (LISD) to improve STEM education in all of its schools, creating the state’s first "STEM district." 

TI isn’t the only Texas-based company that supports Texas STEM Initiatives. Since 1995 the Dallas-based AT&T and the AT&T Foundation have given nearly $87 million to support STEM initiatives nationwide, including scholarship programs and science/math focused summer camps for at-risk youth and hands-on technology labs and elite robotics competitions at the nation’s leading universities.

In 2008, the company launched AT&T Aspire, specifically focused on confronting the high school dropout crisis to help ensure our students graduate prepared for the future challenges of continuing education and the workforce says Amanda Chiampi, director of Citizenship and Sustainability at AT&T.

In 2012, AT&T committed an additional $250 million, planned over 5 years, to high school success and college readiness, with an emphasis on socially innovative and science, technology, engineering and math-focused programs.

"Nearly one-third of all students — and nearly 40 percent of African-American, Hispanic and Native American students — fail to graduate with their class," Chiampi says, "Through Aspire, AT&T and the AT&T Foundation are working to help reverse this trend by identifying programs that work and bringing them to scale, supporting the work of educators and helping students get excited about setting and achieving their goals."

Students served by organizations that received Aspire funding from 2008 to 2011 were retained at the end of 10th and 11th grades at significantly higher rates than comparison students, according to AT&T’s research.

AT&T filled more than 12,000 STEM-related jobs in 2011, and more than two-thirds of AT&T’s recent hires began their career in a technology-related area.

"STEM education is crucially important in preparing students for the rapidly changing, increasingly sophisticated job market. U.S. businesses are struggling to find talent, especially in the math and science fields," Chiampi says. "The dropout rate, along with inadequate training and education, is keeping many high-paying STEM jobs from being filled."

source: http://www.gonzalescannon.com/node/11069


Smith unveils tech-friendly STEM visa bill

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) introduced a high-skilled immigration bill on Tuesday that has received the backing of several tech companies. 

Smith's bill, the STEM Jobs Act, is scheduled for a vote in the House on Thursday. The measure boast nearly 50 co-sponsors, the bulk of whom are GOP members. 

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) is the lone Democratic co-sponsor of the bill, though a House Judiciary aide said Smith is working to round up more supporters ahead of Thursday's vote.

Smith's bill would eliminate the diversity green card program and reallocate up to 55,000 green cards a year to foreign-born graduates with doctorates in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines from U.S. universities. Remaining visas would be made available to graduates with master's degrees.  

“Many of the world’s top students come to the U.S. to obtain advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math subjects," Smith said in a statement. "We could boost economic growth and spur job creation by allowing American employers to more easily hire some of the most qualified foreign graduates of U.S. universities."

The Information Technology Industry Council -- which counts Google, IBM, Intel and Microsoft as members --and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) have thrown their support behind the STEM Jobs Act.

"While there are a number of different immigration initiatives, the STEM Jobs Act is the one that is scheduled for a vote on Thursday," said Michael Petricone, senior vice president of government affairs for CEA. "It is imperative that something get done as soon as possible – kicking out foreign born advanced degree holders is the economic equivalent of deliberately shooting yourself in the foot. The simple fact is that immigrants with advanced degrees mean more jobs."

"We are hopeful that both sides can transcend politics and do what is clearly in the best interests of America and the US economy," Petricone added.

Top tech companies have long advocated for Congress to make it easier for foreign-born graduates with advanced STEM degrees to stay in the U.S. They argue that it would help them fill their workforce with the best and brightest talent. 

While Smith's bill may have the blessing of House GOP leaders, it's not expected to see much action if it passes the lower chamber. With the election on the horizon and a limited number of working days left this year, it will be tough for Congress to move the needle on the issue. 

House Democrats have also criticized the bill's proposal to eliminate the diversity visa program, arguing that it provides a legal avenue for immigration to the U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) has introduced a rival measure that is similar to Smith's STEM Jobs Act, but it would keep the diversity visa program in place. 

Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) unveiled a bill that's similar to Lofgren's measure on Tuesday, called the BRAINS Act.

source: http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/250159-smith-unveils-tech-friendly-stem-visa-bill



Grant will fund challenging science, math program at Cannon Elementary

Bells, whistles, whirrs and chirps filled the air at Cannon Elementary School in Grapevine Tuesday as faculty, administrators, students and parents gathered for a STEM Kickoff, the formal rollout of an ambitious plan designed to position the school as a leader in education for 21st century careers.

Cannon was awarded a $10,000 grant last month from the Grapevine-Colleyville Education Foundation. The grant, funded by the Verizon Foundation, will go toward Cannon's new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education initiative. Throughout the school year, Cannon will work toward the goal of becoming a STEM Academy by the time the 2013-2014 school year begins.

STEM is a project-based instructional approach that focuses on integration of math, science, engineering and technology into the regular curriculum. At Cannon this year, teachers' professional development will center on designing instruction with a STEM emphasis.

Ben Rosamond, 10, and Emily Snow, 8, helped show off the program's official mascot, a mobile robot named Stevie constructed by Cannon students who used an old VCR, videotape, dryer vents, light bulbs, an alarm clock, a fan, cupcake tins, aluminum foil and wheels from a broken chair.

"This was my first time actually building something taller than me," said Emily, a third-grader at Cannon.

"That was really fun, to take the technology parts and use them in something else," said Ben, a fifth-grader who has already decided he wants to be a software engineer.

The grant will be used to finish out Cannon's new STEM+ Engineering and Design Lab, which will feature advanced academic versions of familiar building materials such as the Lego Robotics systems, a student "tinkering lab" with Tinker Toys and a teacher engineering resource center.

The school already has a stylish media lab with futuristic modular furniture, Apple laptops, a giant QWERTY keyboard on the wall, a green screen for video production, and a depiction of a huge iPad screen with apps.

Cannon's program will be unique even among the few existing elementary-level STEM programs because of its emphasis on introducing students to the design process through an elementary engineering curriculum.

The Cannon faculty began to craft their STEM vision last fall, said Julie Brenegan, the STEM coach at Cannon.

"We went to visit campuses in Coppell and Texarkana to see STEM initiatives on an elementary level," said Brenegan. "We felt we could push for our Cannon kids to experience that kind of creativity."

They introduced the idea to parents through a "STEM-posium" that replaced the family science night last year, and partnered with the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History for support.

The hope is to build Cannon's STEM Academy, then make sure there is a seamless path through junior- and senior-high-school for students whose interests and talents lean toward science, math, technology and engineering as a career, district administrators said.

Parents at Tuesday's rollout seemed as enthusiastic as the teachers who wore shirts that read, "Full STEM ahead!"

Ben Rosamond's mother, Vicki Rosamond, a chemical engineer on "sabbatical" while her children are young, is sad that her son will soon be out of Cannon, but happy that the STEM objectives are being instituted in elementary schools.

source: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/09/12/4254332/grant-will-fund-challenging-science.html



UTPA wants more women STEM professors

EDINBURG — Only 18 percent of all faculty in science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM — fields at the University of Texas-Pan American are women, compared with the national average of 28 percent.

The representation in tenured and tenure-track positions is even lower, at 14 percent, said Havidán Rodriguez, UTPA’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.

The representation of Hispanic females is only 11 percent.

“In terms of leadership, the share of STEM women in chair, associate dean or dean positions is zero percent, with no women being placed at those levels,” said Dr. Ala Qubbaj, UTPA’s vice provost for faculty affairs.

On Tuesday, UTPA announced a program to increase these percentages and recruit more women and specifically Latinas into STEM fields.

The institution got a big boost toward this objective from the National Science Foundation ADVANCE program that awarded a $3.1 million to use in the five next years.

“Research has shown that female representation and advancement in academic STEM positions are affected by many external factors that are unrelated to their ability, interest and technical skills,” Rodriguez said.

Hurdles include discrimination and a lack of support services like child and adult day care.

Even subtle discrimination “can hurt more than direct discrimination,” said Cristina Villalobos, associate professor and mathematics director at the Center of Excellence in STEM Education, who is one of the two Latinas teaching in the 35 member faculty of the Math Department at UTPA.

Rodriguez said the effort will address “faculty recruitment and advancement, policy and climate, education and empowerment and social science research that is intended to broaden and deepen the knowledge base related to issues that hinder the success of women, particularly Latinas in the STEM fields.”

One goal of the project, which will start Oct. 1, will be to double the current number of female STEM faculty members. The university will seek to increase the number of assistant professors by 50 percent, double the number of female associate professors and triple the number of female professors.

It will also work in its policies to accommodate a more family-oriented lifestyle that will benefit female professors.

source: http://www.themonitor.com/news/utpa-63780-wants-women.html



Texas Instruments Foundation recognizes 12 STEM teachers in the Dallas-area

The Texas Instruments Foundation today presented its Innovations in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Teaching Awards to 12 teachers at four North Texas school districts.

The Dallas-based semiconductor company expanded this year’s program to include teachers in the Mesquite Independent School District as well as the Dallas, Plano and Richardson ISDs. School principals nominated teachers based on criteria, including teaching effectiveness, classroom innovation and encouraging student interest in STEM subjects.

Each teacher received $10,000, half of which is to be used for professional development or technology training. The foundation has invested more than $600,000 in STEM Awards in North Texas since 2007.

The winners are:

Dallas ISD

- Aaron Baldridge, who teaches environmental science and biology at Science and Engineering Magnet

- Jayda Bathchelder, who teaches science at L.V. Stockard Middle School.
- Susan Bourenane, who teaches technology/computer at George Bannerman Dealey Montessori and International Academy.
- Rachel Burnett, who teaches algebra at W.T. White High School and is the core math teacher for the school’s Engineering Academy.
- Molly Freid, who teaches math at North Dallas High School.
- Michael Jones, who teaches architecture and digital media at Molina High School.
- Veronda Washington, who teaches technology and engineering at Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School.

 Mesquite ISD

- Ashley Lopes, who teaches science at Agnew Middle School.

- Lisa Ransom, who teaches science at R.S. Kimbrough Middle School.


Plano ISD

- Julie Baker, who teaches biology at Plano East Senior High School.

- Jennifer Walker, who teaches math at Rice Middle School.


Richardson ISD

- Lauren Denison, who taught emerging math at Forest Meadow Junior High, but has moved to Berkner High School.



source: http://educationblog.dallasnews.com/2012/09/texas-instruments-foundation-recognizes-12-stem-teachers-in-the-dallas-area.html/


UT-Austin Announces New Engineering Research Center 

It has been more than two decades since a Texas university was selected to lead one of the National Science Foundation's prestigious engineering research centers, but the University of Texas at Austin has broken the streak.

UT-Austin has been selected to receive an $18.5 million federal grant over five years to establish and lead a center it is calling the Nanomanufacturing Systems for Mobile Computing and Mobile Energy Technologies, or NASCENT. It will focus on developing manufacturing processes for microscopic computing technology that the center's leaders, Roger Bonnecaze and S.C. Sreenivasan, said could lead to foldable laptops and wearable devices.

The NSF's engineering research centers are strategically placed partnerships between the government, academia and industry. Led by UT-Austin, the partners that make up NASCENT include the University of New Mexico and the University of California at Berkeley as well as private companies like Texas Instruments, Lockheed Martin and others.

The last such center in Texas was the Offshore Technology Research Center, run jointly by UT-Austin and Texas A&M University and established in 1988. It graduated from the federal program and became self-sustaining in 1999.

California, Massachusetts and North Carolina all have multiple engineering research centers.

Asked about the state's decades-long drought for such a center, Sreenivasan, a professor of mechanical engineering at UT-Austin, noted the steep competition for the grant and said that, with concepts such as rollable batteries moving closer to reality, he believed the national mood had finally shifted in a way that favors the strengths of UT-Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering. "We've had a pretty strong background in electronics manufacturing," he said. "I think the national mood has changed toward manufacturing."

Gregory Fenves, the dean of UT-Austin's engineering school described the announcement as "game-changing," noting that it should be a boon to faculty recruitment as well as the school's national rankings. He also said he hoped the center would help bolster UT-Austin's case to rebuild a new $290 million engineering education and research facility.

The NASCENT center hopes to hire four new faculty members and plans to provide work for 20 graduate students and research opportunities for up to 20 undergraduates. It also plans to run a pre-college program to identify promising middle and high school students.

In addition to the $18.5 million grant, Bonnecaze and Sreenivasan said the center also anticipates developing intellectual property and spinning off companies that will bring in additional revenue.

source: http://www.texastribune.org/texas-education/higher-education/ut-announces-185-million-engineering-research-cent/


Texas Instruments gives $300K to United Way teaching program

United Way of Metropolitan Dallas will use a $300,000 multiyear contribution from the Texas Instruments Foundation to launch "I Rock Math," an initiative to support innovative teaching in public schools throughout North Texas.


I Rock Math is designed to expand effective science, technology, engineering and math teaching practices and help more students excel in math during middle and high school so they're better prepared for college and careers.


The TI Foundation will give $300,000 over three years to provide grants and expert coaching to selected North Texas teachers. United Way expects to present the awards to more than 30 sixth- and seventh-grade teachers in the next three years. The first set of grants will be awarded in January 2013 and grant proposals are due Oct. 1.


Individual teachers can receive grants up to $5,000 and teaching teams are eligible for as much as $25,000. Teachers selected for I Rock Math also will receive expert coaching from Laying the Foundation, a division of the National Math and Science Initiative.


United Way volunteers who work in STEM careers will visit I Rock Math classrooms.


Six of every 10 jobs created in the 21st century will require math and science skills understood by only 20 percent of the current workforce, said Jennifer Sampson, president and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.


The program will help teachers change the lives of their students permanently, said Sam Self, TI Foundation chairman.


“Great breakthroughs are happening in North Texas math classrooms," Self said. "The key is to find them and replicate them.”


To apply for I Rock Math grants, teachers must work for public schools in Dallas, Collin, Rockwall and southern Denton counties. Teachers interested in applying for I Rock Math grants can download an application for at http://my.unitedwaydallas.org/page/s/i-rock-math


source: http://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/news/2012/09/06/ti-gives-300000-to-united-way.html 


The JASON Project to Enrich 40,000 Houston Students; Chevron Grants Enable STEM Education

Nearly 40,000 Houston-area students will experience the excitement of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) this school year thanks to Chevron Corporation's sponsorship of The JASON Project, which connects students to real science and exploration to inspire and motivate them to pursue careers in the STEM fields.

Using Chevron grants, the Alief, Aldine and Spring Branch Independent School (SBISD) Districts, as well as Houston's Southwest Schools, have trained a total of 259 teachers and 62 teacher/coaches to bring the JASON curriculum to their students in 42 schools.

"Chevron is committed to providing students with learning opportunities that are exciting and engaging, and the Jason Project is the perfect way to do that," said Joni Baird, Chevron Houston Public Affairs Manager.

JASON's inquiry-based science modules place students in challenging, real-world situations where they connect with renowned scientists. JASON involves students in hands-on labs and assignments that complement descriptions, vocabulary, and the standards on which students are tested for earth, physical and life science topics. Scientific partners include NASA, NOAA and National Geographic.

"I am very grateful to Chevron for helping bring JASON to SBISD," one coach wrote in an evaluation of the program. "Students are going to be inspired more than ever."

"We at The JASON Project are excited at the impact this collaboration with Chevron and the Alief, Aldine, Spring Branch and Southwest School districts will have with Houston-area students," said Dr. Stephen M. Coan, president of Sea Research Foundation, the parent of The JASON Project.

"JASON reaches 2 million students a year in the U.S., increasing academic achievement and motivating their interest in STEM," Dr. Coan said. "We look forward to future partnerships that will further spread the positive message of JASON and prepare students to be the next leaders in STEM."

source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-jason-project-to-enrich-40000-houston-students-chevron-grants-enable-stem-education-2012-09-05?siteid=nbkh



Chevron's Fuel Your School Program Expands to Support Nine Communities Across the U.S.

Chevron U.S.A. Inc. announced the expansion of its Fuel Your School program to nine communities this fall from two communities in 2011. Fuel Your School will provide useful funding for eligible classroom projects developed by public school teachers and posted to DonorsChoose.org in the following communities:

-- Alameda and Contra Costa counties, California

-- Orange County, California

-- Kern County, California

-- Sacramento County, California

-- St. Tammany, Orleans and Plaquemines parishes, Louisiana

-- Jackson County, Mississippi

-- Multnomah County, Oregon

-- Harris County, Texas

-- Salt Lake and Davis counties, Utah

Chevron will donate $1 for every eight gallon or larger fill up from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31 at participating Chevron and Texaco stations in those communities, up to a total contribution of nearly $5 million.

"Educating today's students remains critical to our country's future, but America's schools face significant challenges and have fallen behind in science, technology, engineering and math," said Dale Walsh, president of Chevron Americas Products. "Fuel Your School provides teachers with essential tools and resources that help students learn, explore and get excited about STEM education to help prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow."

The program is an innovative collaboration with DonorsChoose.org, an online charity to help students in need. All year, public school teachers across the U.S. post classroom project requests on DonorsChoose.org, ranging from pencils to microscope slides and even live tarantulas for use with biology lessons.

"Teachers spend more than $350 of their own money every year on materials for their students," said Charles Best, CEO of DonorsChoose.org. "Our site enables public school teachers to post projects for funding from their community and companies like Chevron who want to improve students' education."

The lack of adequate school funding across the nation has become so dire that some teachers do not have basic supplies to help students complete their classroom assignments. During the last school year, public school teachers shared more than 100,000 requests on the DonorsChoose.org website. One of those requests came from Ms. Lim-Breitbart, who teaches high school physics at Aspire California College Preparatory Academy in Berkeley, Calif., but lacked the resources to provide students with hands-on scientific activities. With the help of the Fuel Your School program, she and her students received digital thermometers and hot plates to use during physics lessons.

"[The] donation helped change our classroom from 'getting by' to 'doing real science' this year," said Lim-Breitbart. Students now believe that "science is a real option for them in the future."

Chevron partners with local communities, governments and non-profit organizations to increase learning opportunities for students and support the social and economic vitality of communities where the company has significant business operations. Chevron has contributed nearly $100 million for education in the U.S. over the past three years.

Since its inception in 2010, Fuel Your School has funded more than 3,000 classroom projects at nearly 600 schools, and the program has grown each year to support students in additional communities. Public school teachers and other educators are invited to post eligible projects starting on September 1 to www.DonorsChoose.org, for possible funding as part of the Fuel Your School program.

Consumers can track the classroom projects in need of funding and see how much money is being earned for public schools in each city by visiting www.FuelYourSchool.com. Donations earned through Fuel Your School will be used to fund eligible classroom projects from Oct. 2 through Nov. 30, 2012, or until funds generated by this program have been exhausted by eligible projects. Consumers and Chevron employees may also independently fund classroom projects on the DonorsChoose.org website by making separate, individual donations.

source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chevrons-fuel-your-school-program-expands-to-support-nine-communities-across-the-us-2012-09-05?siteid=nbkh 



Texas A&M Enrichment Program Encourages Interest in Mathematics
COLLEGE STATION -- As another summer winds down, excitement about mathematics is heating up on the Texas A&M University campus, thanks to the annual Summer Educational Enrichment (SEE) in Math Program that helps middle school students explore their potential in mathematics and related careers.
The two-week afternoon program, now in its 11th year, is offered by the Texas A&M Department of Mathematics for select honors students entering grades 6-8 and is designed to foster positive attitudes toward mathematics and science. Philip B. Yasskin, associate professor of mathematics and SEE-Math director, says the primary goal is to help high-achieving students find excitement in the discovery of mathematics and science concepts, and to provide them with the knowledge, confidence and encouragement to continue their studies in mathematics and science-related fields.
All sessions are conducted by Texas A&M mathematics professors, who are assisted by counselors -- primarily undergraduate students and high school students who previously participated in the program as campers.
Using both group and one-on-one activities, faculty and counselors help participants master exciting mathematics-related concepts, such as creating movies on a computer, counting in complicated situations, coloring maps, decrypting codes, counting infinities and visualizing 3- and 4-dimensional geometry.
Kenji Blum, an 8th grader at A&M Consolidated Middle School, heard about the program from friends who previously had attended it. To him, it's important to learn mathematics because it's a lifelong skill.
"We see math all around us," says Blum, momentarily pausing from his break-time analysis of DC versus Marvel Comics. (For the record, his money's on Marvel.) "If we learn it now, we will be able to use it in the future, whether in our careers or just in our everyday lives."
Blum, who wants to be an architect, says his favorite aspect of the program thus far has been the mathematics tricks he has learned, including using the power of two and other techniques to master one particularly intriguing assignment this week known as King Arthur problems.
Benjamin Garrett, a 6th grader from Houston whose father works for Boeing, found out about SEE-Math while attending the 2012 Texas A&M Physics and Engineering Festival and is interested in a future in programming or possibly robotics.
"I think without math, you can't communicate very well," Garrett says. "Plus, I think it's fun to program." 

Open source textbook publisher projects $1M in savings
College students in some of the most heavily attended courses in the country will eclipse $1 million in textbook savings after a Rice University-based publisher had 13,000 open-source books downloaded since June.
OpenStax College, a start-up online textbook publisher launched early this year, announced Aug. 14 that its first two book titles, College Physics and Introduction to Sociology, have sold more than 13,000 free copies – enough to save students $1 million during the upcoming fall semester.
Richard Baraniuk, OpenStax College’s founder and an engineering professor at Rice, said students would save more money this fall than it cost to create the sociology and physics textbooks, as educators at 55 colleges and universities have committed to using the textbooks this fall.
Baraniuk’s goal is to save college students $95 million over the next five years.
Open-textbook activists said skeptics of low-cost and free textbooks shouldn’t scoff at OpenStax’s modest adoption rate.
“Fifty-five adoptions may not seem big in the context of a multi-billion-dollar industry, but looking at these books as disruptive technology it could be all it takes to insert a wedge into the market,” said Nicole Allen, a Student PIRG spokeswoman who tracks national textbook preferences and policies.
Student PIRG textbook cost projections showed that Washington state’s Open Course Library would save $102 per student per course. Allen said the organization has similar hopes for OpenStax.
David Harris, OpenStax College editor-in-chief, said drawing student interest wasn’t difficult because students have, for years, sought myriad ways to avoid spending hundreds on a single book for a single class.
Creating a quality textbook, Harris said, was what spread the word among instructors and professors who want to help their students save money on books without using suspect teaching material.
“A bad book is still a bad book, even if it’s free,” Harris said. “Our books are both free and high quality, thanks to the investment of our philanthropic partners.”
OpenStax officials said they would continue development of their first five textbook titles this year with funding from the 20 Million Minds Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Maxfield Foundation. Harris said upcoming OpenStax offerings would include college algebra, general chemistry, principles of economics, U.S. history, psychology, and anatomy and physiology.
In February, Rice’s OpenStax unveiling coincided with a gathering of open educational resource (OER) advocates at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., where the potential cost savings and educational benefits of openly available material were discussed by higher-education officials, technologists, and copyright experts.           
U.S. Undersecretary of Education Martha Kanter was the keynote speaker at the OER conference. She assured attendees that the Obama administration would continue to support the development of OER as a way of reducing growing educational costs—a highlight of Obama’s State of the Union address.
During her days as a community college chancellor, Kanter knew of student groups that pooled their money to buy textbooks, ripped the books into pieces, and made copies of those sections for their classmates.
“It broke my heart to see that,” Kanter said.
Six in 10 students at the University of California, Riverside said in November that they forgo purchasing recommended class supplies—including textbooks—because they’re strapped for cash.
And while 60 percent of respondents to the UC Riverside survey said they “skipped buying [schools supplies] entirely,” and two-thirds of students said they postponed buying textbooks and other supplies, leaving them without necessary class material in the first weeks of a course.

New Plano high school to focus on project-based learning
If project-based learning is done well, it can increase test scores by up to 40 percent. If implemented poorly, however, test scores can drop by as much as 17 percent, research has found.
At the newest high school in Plano, Texas, a lesson on Hurricane Katrina could look a lot like this: Students would study the science of weather patterns, review the historical impact of the 2005 natural disaster, and read personal stories from those affected. Then, in teams, they would research and develop a plan for federal authorities on how to respond to a similar act of nature.
“This is a very untraditional way of teaching and learning, so … it’s unlike anything we’ve ever done before,” principal Renee Godi said.
Instruction focused on a problem-solving team approach rather than subject-by-subject homework assignments will drive the new Project Based Learning Academy set to open in 2013. Such project-based learning methods are quickly taking root in North Texas and around the country as more districts work to incorporate such instruction styles at local campuses.
In 2007, the Carrollton-Farmers Branch school district opened the Math, Engineering, Technology, and Science Academy on the R.L. Turner High School campus built on that concept. Coppell opened its project-based learning school, New Tech High, the following year. Then Dallas opened its repurposed Maceo Smith New Tech High School last year with a project-based learning model.
Such learning helps students develop a deeper level of critical thinking and cognitive skills, said Mansoureh Tehrani, director of the Carrollton-Farmers Branch program.
A few years ago at METSA, for example, students in a geometry class researched demographics and traffic patterns to develop options for DART’s Green Line rail expansion that they then presented them to local transportation officials.
“These are problems that have real-world applications,” Tehrani said. “It’s more authentic, and the students see the benefits of their work. It’s not just an assignment that they have to do and not know why.”
If a project-based learning model is done well, it can increase test scores by up to 40 percent, said Robert Capraro, a mathematics professor at Texas A&M University who has studied the impact of project-based learning methods. If implemented poorly, however, test scores can drop by as much as 17 percent, his research found.
“It takes a commitment and time by all involved,” Capraro said. “Some district officials out there want to buy a program and just bring it in and not do any additional work. That’s not a successful model.”
Plano ISD’s commitment is evident. An advisory committee spent months working on developing what would become the vision for the academy.
Superintendent Richard Matkin said no existing program met the district’s desire to incorporate an interdisciplinary focus with science, technology, engineering, math, and the arts—so officials opted to build their own curriculum.
 “We wanted to follow our own path,” Matkin said. “We want a method of instruction that incorporates the arts in a more Renaissance-type style of learning that will work hand in hand in linking that creative thinking with solving problems through an interdisciplinary approach.”
Godi already has hired nearly a dozen teachers. The work has to start now, because the method is so different than what most teachers are used to, she said.
“The teachers will be facilitators, but the students are essentially leading the lessons,” Godi said.
Officials concede the academy won’t be for everyone. Plans are to cap enrollment at 600. That will mean fewer sports and extracurricular options.
“For some, that’s a deal-breaker,” Godi said. “But for others, that’s a choice they are willing to make for the small class sizes. There’s a niche of students that are just not thriving in a traditional school setting. I think the academy is really going to resonate with them.”


Actress and Scientist Mayim Bialik Teams Up with Texas Instruments to Inspire Science and Math Educators and Students


Texas Instruments (TI) announced actress, scientist and author Mayim Bialik as brand ambassador and spokeswoman for TI-Nspire™ CX math and science learning technology. TI and Bialik hope to inspire teens, our future generation of scientists and mathematicians, to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in their studies and future careers.

The partnership is a perfect match between TI, a longtime advocate and funder of STEM initiatives that drive innovative education programs for students and teachers, and Bialik, who holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and is passionate about math and science education. Bialik also uses her degree to foster a passion for the sciences by teaching biology and chemistry in her spare time, and through her acting role as a biologist on TV's No. 1 math-and-science-based comedy.

"I relied on my Texas Instruments graphing calculators while earning my neuroscience degrees, so it is exciting for me to join TI in inspiring and supporting students and educators through the use of TI-Nspire math and science classroom technology," Bialik said. "I'm a firm believer in fostering interactive learning environments for students. I also understand the importance of advancing science, technology, engineering and math and hope to inspire future generations of scientists."

The partnership kicked off in March with Bialik attending TI's 24th Annual T³™ International Conference in Chicago, Ill., where nearly 2,000 educators from around the world gathered to learn innovative and effective ways to teach with technology and improve student success in math and science.

Bialik joined TI for a special event where TI donated more than $40,000 of TI-Nspire CX math and science classroom learning technology and teacher professional development to two local Chicago Public Schools. Each school received a TI-Nspire™ CX Navigator™ System, TI-Nspire™ CX math and science handhelds, and professional development and coaching to ensure ongoing success using the technology.

Bialik also headlined the conference's Welcome Reception, where she spoke to teachers about her passion for learning and teaching science and her own experience with TI classroom technology. On Saturday, Bialik met with educators and conference leaders during professional development sessions.

"We are excited to collaborate with Mayim because of her unique credentials as a real-life scientist and teacher, not to mention her role playing a biologist on one of today's most popular TV shows," said Melendy Lovett, president of TI's Education Technology business and senior vice president of Texas Instruments. "She's passionate about inspiring young learners to pursue science and math and is a great role model for students and a perfect ambassador for TI Nspired Learning."


source: http://education.ti.com/educationportal/sites/US/nonProductSingle/about_press_release_news161.html



U.S. News Inducts Five to STEM Leadership Hall of Fame
DALLAS—It doesn’t take a nuclear physicist to determine that the future of the United States depends heavily on science, technology, engineering, and math, but bolstering education and recruiting more workers in these fields is no easy feat. While experts have noted that at least half the growth in the U.S. gross domestic product over the last 50 years has been due to science and engineering, many say the United States is losing its competitive luster in the fields. The United States ranks 27th among developed countries in the proportion of college students earning bachelor’s degrees in science or engineering, according to a 2010 National Academies report. Mobilizing the STEM workforce requires considerable collaboration between the private and public sectors, careful communication about the importance of STEM, and changing the culture related to the fields, according to a panel of experts recognized for their contributions to STEM at U.S.News & World Report’s inaugural STEM Solutions 2012 Summit in Dallas last month.
Five experts from various fields were named to the first class of the U.S. News STEM Leadership Hall of Fame, as selected by a committee of industry, academic, and nonprofit sector leaders for their roles in advancing STEM. An awards ceremony followed several days of presentations, panels, and conversations—not to mention basketball-shooting and ribbon-cutting robots—in which nearly 2,000 educators, business leaders, policymakers, media professionals, and others came together to share ideas and proposals for improving STEM education and engagement.
According to the Hall of Fame members, strengthening STEM starts by working together—creating partnerships between educators and employers, corporations and government. “Let’s knock down the boundaries between public and private sectors,” said Freeman Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland–Baltimore County. That way, businesses can communicate exactly what they need in the STEM workforce, for instance, and schools can adjust their programs to incorporate more real-world applications for lessons in science and math.
Improving education is particularly critical, the experts agreed, to help more students see the value of STEM and engage with the topics throughout their lives. Certain specialized programs or charter schools may have found success improving student interest or engagement with STEM, but figuring out a model that works broadly is key. “We’ve got to focus on finding a few things that work and scale them across the country,” said Tom Luce, chairman of the nonprofit National Math + Science Initiative and former assistant secretary of education for planning, evaluation, and policy development. Advancing STEM also means revamping curricula and making sure that students who are interested in science and engineering maintain that interest, so they can become scientists and engineers. “Two thirds of those who begin with a major in those areas are not making it and we assume that’s OK,” said Hrabowski. Communicating the value of STEM to minority and underserved communities is also critical. “I see collaboration going on at the 30,000-foot level, but I don’t see collaboration at delivering to the schools that need it most,” says Ray Mellado, chairman and CEO of Great Minds in STEM, a Los Angeles-area nonprofit dedicated to advancing education for underserved students related to STEM fields.
In addition to engaging more students, improving STEM education also involves strengthening teacher training and support at all levels and motivating more qualified STEM graduates to become educators. The National Academies call for adding 10,000 new math and science teachers each year. “You can’t expect them to teach when they’re offered half what they would get somewhere else,” said Mary Good, special adviser to the chancellor for economic development at the University of Arkansas–Little Rock, where she was once a professor and dean of the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology.
Improving contact with parents is also key, the Hall of Fame winners said, as well as increasing public awareness that STEM fields aren’t just dynamic and fun, but a vital interest. Without a serious commitment to STEM, “we are not going to have the standard of living that we had in the past,” said Good. “We’re to the point, in my opinion, where it’s the national security that is at risk.” Those implications mean more attention should be paid at the national level, with better communication among the government agencies that have a hand in STEM, the honorees said. “We’ve got to get to a results orientation at the government level, especially the federal level,” said Richard Alley, professor of geosciences at Penn State and host of the PBS television series EARTH: The Operators’ Manual. Thus, communicating the importance of STEM is a job for the media, individuals in science, and the public at large, who the Hall of Fame winners agreed should press political leaders to devote more attention and resources to STEM. “Everybody in this room has to communicate that STEM is not just for engineers and scientists,” said Luce. “This is about having a job in the 21st century.”
Even as the experts proposed a number of ways to address the critical need for STEM in the United States, they agreed that the challenges are daunting. Indeed, one of the best ways to start might be working to erase the stigma about STEM—that it’s too difficult, or only for geeks and nerds—and embrace it as a part of American culture. “If your kid is going to fly the fighter jet,” Alley said, “they’re going to do good in math first.”Reader Comments (0) 
Richard B. Alley
Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences Penn State
Mary L. Good
Special Adviser to the Chancellor for Economic Development University of Arkansas-Little Rock
Freeman A. Hrabowski III
President University of Maryland--Baltimore County
Tom Luce
Chairman National Math + Science Initiative
Ray Mellado
Chairman & CEO Great Minds in STEM


source: http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/stem-education/2012/07/26/us-news-inducts-five-to-stem-leadership-hall-of-fame

Mobile App Competition Engages High School Students in STEM
By his own admission, Andrew Rothstein, curriculum director at the National Academy Foundation, has a steep learning curve where technology is concerned.
"I can't even keep up with what was, let alone adapt to what is, or even imagine what will be," Rothstein said to a room full of educators and students last week at the foundation's annual conference.
The former teacher's lack of technical expertise illustrates why high schools need to leverage industry expertise when trying to determine what to teach young adults about information technology.
"You can imagine the challenge of being the architect of something about which you know nothing," he said. "I've never downloaded an app. But fortunately I have a safety net."
For the National Academy Foundation, that safety net was Lenovo, a computer company that manufactures PC laptops, desktops, and tablet computers.
NAF and Lenovo launched a competition at the start of the spring 2012 semester, challenging high school students to develop Android-based mobile applications using Lenovo's ThinkPad Tablet. The foundation piloted the program in five NAF academies:Grover Cleveland High School in New York, Apex High School in North Carolina, Pathways to Technology Magnet High School in Connecticut, Downtown Magnets High School in California, and A.J. Moore Academy of Information Technology in Texas.
The National Academy Foundation builds curriculums focused on bridging the gap between education and business communities. The foundation’s network includes more than 500 career academies that serve more than 50,000 students. Schools must submit proposals and an application to become a career academy or start one on their campus.
Lenovo provided the tablets and the focus—mobile technology—but left the structure and implementation up to the teachers and administrators at each high school.
The competition succeeded at getting students, teachers, and the foundation excited about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Students developed business plans and built apps from scratch—everything from a note-taking program with voice-to-text capability to an app stocked with Dominican food recipes.
The NAF-Lenovo competition also highlighted the logistical challenges of implementing this type of program on a larger scale.
Three of the five schools ran the programs as an after-school or enrichment option due to restraints in their curriculum, and Grover Cleveland High School was the only one able to dedicate the class time needed to take their students' apps from concept to completion.
The mobile app class at Grover Cleveland was allotted a double class period, giving the 40 seniors participating in the project enough time to complete their mobile apps, and students used an app-building program to assist them with the coding and design. Of the 20 apps created by the students, 17 are available for download on Google Play, the Android App store.
In contrast, Robert East and Pete Baus, seniors at A.J. Moore Academy, estimate they only had 24 hours of class time over 12 weeks to devote to their note-taking app. The time constraints and the duo's limited coding knowledge made it difficult to pull together a functional program, they said at the conference.
While NAF plans to take what it learned from the partnership and revamp what its career tech academies look like, JD Hoye, president of the NAF, said it will take several years to revise and roll out a new curriculum to all of its schools.



Representative Johnson Applauds President Obama's Plan to Create a Master Teacher Corps

The Obama Administration announced the President's plan to create a national science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) Master Teacher Corps. The plan is based on a key recommendation in the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology's (PCAST) report, Prepare and Inspire, on how to recognize and help retain America's most talented STEM teachers, build a community of practice among them, raise the profile of the STEM teaching profession, and leverage excellent teachers to collaborate with their peers to strengthen STEM education in America's public school.


Ranking House Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) said,
"As a longtime advocate of STEM education, I applaud the President's plan. We have a STEM education crisis in this country and we must do something about it if we hope to compete in the 21st century global economy. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. will see over 1.2 million STEM jobs open up by the year 2018 yet there is a serious shortage of qualified college graduates to fill them. If we want those jobs to stay in the U.S., we must continue to invest in STEM education for our future workforce. The Committee has long been active in trying to improve STEM education in the U.S. Advancing STEM education was a major component of the America COMPETES Act of 2007 and its reauthorization in 2010. For teachers in particular, we expanded the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program at the National Science Foundation to encourage more talented STEM majors and professionals to become K-12 mathematics and science teachers. Effective and inspiring teachers are essential to improving our students' participation and success in STEM subjects and I look forward to seeing how the Master Teacher Corps helps us meet this goal."



source: http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=37842

UT Dallas Robots Play Starring Role at Conference

Pro basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leads a conference session on STEM education with the help of a squad of UT Dallas robots.

Flying robots, robotic chess pieces and a roving robot, all programmed by University of Texas at Dallas students and faculty, recently shared center stage with national business, education and government leaders at an event aimed at bolstering science, technology, engineering and math education.

The U.S. News STEM Solutions 2012 Leadership Summit, a three-day conference held in Dallas last month, brought together educators, industry leaders, government officials and philanthropists to discuss how best to connect the dots between STEM education and the need for science- and technology-related skills in the American workforce.

The UT Dallas robots were on hand to help launch a new national initiative called STEMx, which encourages states to share best practices and engage in partnerships to improve education in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM fields.

Hundreds of conference-goers attended a special opening session at which NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar moderated a panel discussion that included the UT Dallas robots performing at several key moments. Robotic chess pieces decorated with UT Dallas pennants whirred across the stage and twirled on cue, while a wheeled mobile robot with a metal container attached to its “head” helped Jabbar distribute books to panel members.

The finale included two aerial robots that hovered, flipped and flew out over the audience.

The Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science and School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics were involved in the showcase.

“The robotics demonstrated at this event are fairly straightforward,” said Dr. Nicholas Gans, assistant professor of electrical engineering at UT Dallas. “However, they provide insight into the complicated research my students are working on.” 

For example, Gans’ research group is applying advanced sensing capabilities to unmanned aerial vehicles for possible use in agriculture, disaster response, environmental monitoring, energy exploration and security. In addition, the wheeled robot is part of a project aimed at developing assisted-living robots.

Students from Gans’ Sensing, Robotics, Vision, Control and Estimation Lab participated in the event. They were Ben Nilson, a master’s student in computer engineering; J. Pablo Ramirez, a PhD student in electrical engineering; and David Tick, a doctoral student in computer engineering.

From the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Joshua Baggett, who is pursuing a master’s degree in science education, and Anna Slaybaugh, an undergraduate mathematics major and UTeach Dallas student, also took part in the robotics display.

Dr. Nikki Hanegan, director of the UT Dallas’s Center for STEM Education and Research (C-SER), coordinated the robotics demonstration with conference organizers. She said UT Dallas is a key player in Texas’s efforts to support STEM education and careers.

“UT Dallas has several programs that address the three critical components of STEM education,” Hanegan said. “First, programs like those in the Science and Engineering Education Center link outreach with community partners to promote STEM education. Second, our UTeach Dallas program is training the next generation of science and math teachers. And through the C-SER, we are supporting teachers in the field with professional development and best practices to enhance STEM education.” 


source: http://www.utdallas.edu/news/2012/7/9-18731_UT-Dallas-Robots-Play-Starring-Role-at-Conference_article.html

As part of land-grant mission, production and mentorship of STEM educators is top priority

As part of Texas A&M University’s commitment to its land-grant heritage to provide the population of Texas with a practical education that directly impacts their daily lives, the College of Education and Human Development continues its charge to produce educators to teach and mentor the leaders of tomorrow.

The college is currently the state’s largest producer of teachers in the high-needs fields of bilingual education, math and science, and in order to assist the nation in meeting the rising demand for qualified STEM professionals required in today’s job market, the college is focused on developing strong math and science teachers to enter public school classrooms.

“Developing strong math and science teachers plays an important role in interesting young people to enter STEM fields,” says Robert Capraro, associate professor of mathematics education and director of the Aggie-STEM Center. “STEM teachers provide holistic insights into the teaching and learning processes for students, and ultimately, these students will be more likely to major in a STEM field in college.”

Creating highly qualified STEM educators is crucial given recent statistics showing jobs in STEM fields are expected to grow by 48 percent between 2011 and 2018, which is nearly three times the growth expected in service jobs. Texas A&M is doing its part to help, producing more STEM teachers than any other university in the state by certifying approximately 645 students to teach in STEM fields in the last five years.

In addition to traditional teaching preparation programs, the college offers a number of routes to teacher certification in STEM areas, including a unique partnership with the College of Science called aggieTEACH, which allows students to become secondary math and science educators.

“Developing highly qualified STEM teachers is paramount to building a high-tech, highly valued workforce that will attract highly visible businesses, making Texas the national leader in STEM jobs,” Capraro says. “It is essential for Texas’ continued prosperity.”

Each summer, the college also hosts a two-week educational opportunity for approximately 70 high school students to develop their interests and abilities in STEM fields.

The Aggie-STEM Summer Camp provides real-world STEM activities, such as robotics and rocketry classes, and introduces students to STEM professions through discussions with Texas A&M professors actively working in STEM fields.

“Our goal is to provide an educational experience that is both entertaining and enlightening for students interested in science, technology, engineering and math,” Capraro says. “It is our hope that throughout the camp students are able to make connections to what STEM professionals actually do on the job.”

The summer camp is just one of many ways the College of Education and Human Development actively engages in STEM development and learning opportunities. The college also provides a variety of professional development opportunities to enhance the instructional skills of current STEM teachers. After all, quality STEM educators are the key to growing the number of students entering STEM professions.

Through the Aggie-STEM Center, a partnership of the College of Education and Human Development and the Dwight Look College of Engineering, STEM faculty research, create and provide professional development on the most effective teaching and learning strategies for math and science, and emphasize an educational model called project-based learning that relies on student projects over textbooks.

For the past six years, the center has been working with Waco, Harmony and Dallas schools to strengthen STEM achievement. Although data for the most recent STAR test has not yet been collected, after the 2011 round of TAKS testing and three to five years of Aggie-STEM Center intervention in the schools, one district experienced gains of 38 percent and 41 percent in math and science on their TAKS scores.

“The teachers with the best implementation – meaning they follow the project-based model closely – have the most gains in closing the achievement gap,” Capraro says.

Scott Slough, associate professor of science education, is one in a team of rotating instructors who leads a group of science teachers each summer on a science adventure aboard a research vessel named the JOIDES Resolution.

These educators are selected to participate in the School of Rock, a professional development workshop for science teachers and informal science educators from across the United States and the member nations of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program. Created in 2005, the School of Rock’s goal is to give science teachers hands-on research experience they can use to enhance their teaching.

The JOIDES Resolution sails around the world to study the history of the earth recorded in sediments and rocks beneath the ocean floor. It is equipped with 12 laboratories used to study the cores. While onboard, the teachers work on curriculum and instructional activities and create blogs and videos to share with their classes back home.

“The hands-on experiences offered through the School of Rock provide the teachers with insights they can’t get from traditional classroom learning,” Slough says. “My only regret is that we can’t replicate the experience for more teachers.”

Earlier this summer, approximately 24 teachers came to the Texas A&M campus to learn about earthquake engineering through the Earthquake Engineering Education Project. The week-long workshop increases high school teachers’ knowledge about earthquake engineering to enhance their students’ understanding about what engineers do on the job.

Carol Stuessy, associate professor of science education, explains that the workshop provides educators with the opportunity to collaborate with fellow teachers, develop learning activities to take back to their own classrooms and explore ways in which STEM is used to solve complex real-world problems.

“Research shows that students are more likely to learn and enjoy science if they can see how the subject affects their lives,” Stuessy says.

In this 150th anniversary year of the Morrill Act, which sought to establish land-grant universities throughout the United States, the college continues its responsibility to be a leader among all Colleges of Education to meet the high demand for future STEM professionals by engaging in a number of STEM development and learning opportunities.



source: http://education.tamu.edu/news-archive/2012/07/part-land-grant-mission-production-and-mentorship-stem-educators-top-priority

STEMx launched at STEM Solutions Summit in Dallas

Battelle and 13 state STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education networks officially launched STEMx ( www.STEMx.us ) at the U.S. News STEM Solutions Summit in Dallas, Texas. One year in the making and sponsored by Battelle, STEMx connects state networks and partners to accelerate the growth of policies, practices and partnerships that are needed to expand the number of STEM teachers, increase student achievement in STEM education and, ultimately, grow tomorrow's innovators.

STEMx connects states and their stakeholders from across K-12 and higher education, business, government, philanthropy and the community to impact STEM education and workforce development. The Network's core work of education, engagement and exchange will be propelled by an accessible technology platform enabling states to share, analyze and disseminate quality STEM education ideas, tools and practices. Through this process, STEMx will amplify innovative and transformative work already underway in member states.

"We are proud to support STEMx -- a game-changer in education," said Eric Fingerhut, Vice President for Education & STEM Learning at Battelle. "STEMx is uniquely positioned to impact STEM teaching and learning at a grassroots level through the sharing of STEM-specific resources and tools across the United States. The Network's objective to transform and advance STEM education and workforce development deeply resonates with Battelle's core education mission and our work in STEM education to date."

STEMx member states at launch are Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.

The launch began with a marquee, talk show-style panel featuring Global Cultural Ambassador Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as host. Guests on "The STEMx Show" included Jeffrey Wadsworth, PhD, CEO of Battelle; Brad Smith, General Counsel & Executive Vice President of Microsoft Corporation; Johanna Duncan-Poitier, Senior Vice Chancellor, State University of New York; the Honorable Joyce Beatty, Former Democratic Leader of the Ohio House of Representatives; and Steve Zipkes, Founding Principal of Manor New Technology High School.

In the spirit of the high-tech nature of STEMx, attendees were treated to a ribbon cutting featuring roving and aerial robots programmed by students and faculty from the University of Texas at Dallas. Students and faculty from University's School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics' Center for STEM Education and Eric Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science's Sensing, Robotics, Vision, Controls and Estimation (SeRViCE) Lab contributed to the "high-tech launch," including Dr. Nikki Hanegan, Director of the Center for STEM Education and Research and Professor of Biology and STEM Education Research; Dr. Nicholas Gans, Professor of Electrical Engineering; Joshua Baggett, a graduate student pursuing a Masters in Science Education; Amanda Slaybaugh, an undergraduate Mathematics major; J. Pablo Ramirez, a PhD student in Electrical Engineering; David Tick, a PhD student in Computer Engineering; and Ben Nilson, a Master's student.

The afternoon concluded with ten breakout sessions on subjects including educational innovation, public policy, public-private partnerships and community engagement. Each session featured a cross-section of representatives from the eleven initial STEMx member states, showcasing the collaborative work STEMx states have engaged in over the last few years.


 source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/stemx-launched-at-us-news-stem-solutions-summit-in-dallas-2012-06-27



STEM Heavy Hitters Close Out U.S. News Conference 

DALLAS—Over the course of three days and more than 30 panels, experts talked about the science, technology, engineering, and math education crisis in the United States—but the final panel was easily the most impassioned and lively of them all, with STEM education's heavy hitters finally getting their chance to weigh in.

"I think you'd agree we saved the best for last," U.S. News Editor Brian Kelly said. "STEM is a community we're trying to create. It's a community, and this is the board of directors."

The Hall of Fame panel reiterated much of what had been said over the past few days at the 2012 U.S. News STEM Solutions Summit—that America needs to train more STEM teachers and pay them better, private-public partnerships between businesses and schools are the way forward, and universities have to find a way to keep engineering students from dropping out.

"Two thirds of the students that enter college as an engineering major switch majors, and we assume that's OK," said Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland—Baltimore County. "They say that the first year of science and engineering is made up of weed-out courses. I'd argue that it does not have to be that way."

Overall, the speakers' messages were ones of hope—Tom Luce, director of the National Math + Science Institute, said everyone knows there are pockets of STEM success all around the nation, but it's time to stop championing small pilot programs and to start scaling them up.

"We've got to focus on finding the few things that work and scale them up across the country. … Corporations like to fund [small programs that produce] 1,000 flowers that bloom. Well, that doesn't produce scale," Luce said. 

Richard Alley, a geosciences professor at Pennsylvania State University—University Park and host of PBS's EARTH: The Operators Manual, agreed.

"Every pilot program works, because they get funding, because there's somebody behind it," he said, adding that to get students interested in STEM, America has to hold up successful engineers as idols. "How many of our students in third, sixth, or ninth grade know they want to be like [former Lockheed Martin CEO] Norm Augustine when they grow up? We've got to get the truth out there—that this is the way to success, that this works, that this is cool." 


source: http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/stem-education/2012/06/29/stem-heavy-hitters-close-out-us-news-conference

Top Texas STEM Teachers Share Teaching Strategies

Event: Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers will share best practices and be honored at the Texas Regional Collaboratives for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching annual conference

When: June 27-29, with an exhibit hall showcase of STEM lessons, a reception and dinner Wednesday, June 27, from 5 to 9 p.m.

Where: Renaissance Austin Hotel, 9721 Arboretum Blvd.

Background: National policymakers and education experts as well as corporate leaders consistently point to improved math, science and technology education as a key to remaining competitive in a global arena. The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education, which is the top-ranked education school in the country, is leading the effort with its nationally touted programs including UTeach, the Center for STEM Education and the Texas Regional Collaboratives (TRC).

The University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Regional Collaboratives has offered research-based, high-quality professional development to Texas science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) secondary teachers for 21 years.

At the annual conference, hundreds of TRC educators and mentors come together to share some of their best, most lively lessons and strategies for teaching STEM lessons. The lessons and methods focus on inquiry-based and student-directed learning as well as best practices for implementing technology in education. Exceptional STEM educators also are honored during the conference and have a chance to network with one another as well as with the TRC’s corporate, higher education, state, federal and community partners.

The highlight of the conference is the June 27 exhibit hall showcase of the most innovative STEM teaching techniques and a dinner after which awards are given to top educators, and the TRC’s partners are recognized. This year’s keynote speaker is Texas state Rep. Rob Eissler, chairman of the Public Education Committee.

Featured general session speakers during the three-day conference include Texas Education Agency science coordinator Irene Pickhardt, Baylor University and Williams College professor Edward B. Burger and Authentic Education president Dr. Grant Wiggins.

For more information, contact: Kay Randall, College of Education, at 512-232-3910 or visit http://thetrc.org/web/eighteenth.html.



More Than 1,800 Inner City Students to Participate in STEM Programming

Beginning June 18 and over the next seven weeks, more than 1,800 elementary and middle school students across the country will become immersed in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) as they participate in the Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK) program. SEEK was coordinated through a partnership between SAE International and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and will expose inner city students to hands-on projects and a valuable career path.

 "This engaging and educational program has shown a tremendous impact on the communities it reaches," said Matt Miller, director, SAE Foundation and Pre-Professional Programs. "Students will become engineers as they work in teams, think through challenges and create projects. Many of these students are experiencing new opportunities that are helping to shape career paths in STEM fields."

The SEEK program will be led by NSBE engineering students and technical professionals, using the National Science Board Award-winning curriculum, A World in Motion® (AWIM). AWIMwas developed by SAE International and allows students to work in teams to solve problems and create products while discovering the underlying math and science principles involved in the process. The program and curriculum are made possible through funds from major sponsors, like Caterpillar.

"College students from across the country will spend time with these students to become mentors for three weeks, but will make an impression on these kids that will last much longer," said Dr. Carl Mack, executive director of NSBE. "These kids are seeing positive African American role models that are building bonds and investing time in each one of them. The mentors are helping to guide the next generation of aspiring engineers."

Each week of the program, students will take on a new STEM project, present their final designs to a panel of local judges and participate in friendly competitions. This free program is offered to students in 3rd – 5th grade as well as 6th – 8th grade. It begins in San Diego on June 18, continuing for three-week-long sessions across six locations. The schedule is as follows:

  • San Diego, CA (San Diego State University) June 18 – July 6 (8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.) Sponsors: Accurate Engineering, Caterpillar, Life Technologies, Northrop Grumman, San Diego Gas & Electric, Solar Turbines and US MARINES
  • Oakland, CA (Martin Luther King Elementary) June 25 – July 13 (8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. weekdays M-F) Sponsors: Caterpillar, Chevron, INTEL, Northrop Grumman and SD Bechtel
  • Houston, TX (University of Houston) June 25 – July 14 (8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. weekdays M-F) Sponsors: Caterpillar, SHELL and University of Houston
  • New Orleans July 2—July 20 (8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. weekdays M-F) Sponsors: Caterpillar, Chevron and Re-New Schools
  • Washington D.C. (Elementary program: Langley Education Campus; Middle school program: Eliot Hine Middle School) July 2 – July 20 (8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. weekdays M-F)Sponsors: Alcoa, Caterpillar, CUMMINS, GE, Northrop Grumman, ONR, US Coast Guard and US Navy
  • Detroit, MI (Bates Academy) July 16 – August 3 (8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. weekdays M-F)Sponsors: Caterpillar, Delphi Foundation, Detroit Automobile Dealer Association, DOW and Ford Fund

    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/18/4570600/more-than-1800-inner-city-students.html#storylink=cpy


 source: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/18/4570600/more-than-1800-inner-city-students.html



Bilingual ESL STEM Teachers for ELLs

A five year grant from the US Department of Education entitled  BEST 4 ELLS  has been funded for  $1,977,660 to train 24 pre-service teachers, 20 master in-service teachers and 150 in-service teachers through a program of teacher development with the ultimate goal of improving the education of English learners in the Permian Basin region of Texas.  BEST 4 ELLS  is a collaborative project, consisting of a consortia of local education agencies (school districts), including Ector County ISD, Midland ISD, McCamey ISD, Crane ISD, Monahans-Wickett-Pyote ISD, Seminole ISD, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, Midland Academy Public Charter School  and one institution of higher education - The University of Texas of the Permian Basin.  

The goals of the project include  improving the performance and learning of area bilingual and ESL elementary children, especially in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines on multiple measures of school achievement.

In pursuit of these goals, curriculum will be revised and a new major in bilingual studies, which will include a stronger STEM foundation  will be proposed.  This will strengthen new teachers and will offer an improved program for teacher education in the future at UTPB.  School districts in the region will provide referrals from their pools of paraprofessionals, while at the same time providing mentoring and field based placements for the pre-service teachers.   The district consortia are fully committed to placements for student teaching, for assisting with hiring and placement of the candidates and for providing administrators to provide information on professional development.

For more information contact: Gilbert Sanchez, director at sanchez_g@utpb.edu or 432-552-2127  Fax:(432) 552-3600. Susan Lara, principal investigator at lara_s@utpb.edu or (432) 552-2600.  



source: http://www.oaoa.com/news/ells-88265-grant-education.html

Legislation Would Increase Minority Access to STEM Degrees

Texas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson announced new legislation Tuesday that would expand the number of underrepresented minority students studying science, technology, engineering, and math in college.

The "Broadening Participation in STEM Education Act" would allow the National Science Foundation to award grants to colleges in order to "increase the number of students from underrepresented minority groups receiving degrees in [STEM] fields, and to recruit, retain, and advance STEM faculty members from underrepresented minority groups."

Johnson, ranking member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, has pushed similar legislation through the House twice before, but both bills died in the Senate. She said she realizes she's facing an uphill battle again this time.

"I'm determined to get it done," she says. "I'd be less than honest if I didn't say this is a very difficult environment [to get legislation passed], but this is too important to wait for a comfortable environment. We cannot afford to slacken our pace. We're pressing forth because of the importance of these areas."

The picture surrounding minority students in the STEM workforce isn't a pretty one: Although more than 10 percent of the U.S. labor force is black, African-Americans make up just 4.5 percent of the engineering workforce. Latinos make up 14 percent of the labor force but just 5.5 percent of the engineering workforce. Just 12 percent of engineers are women, even though they make up nearly half of all American workers.

In higher education, it's not much better. In 2009, blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, and Alaskan natives earned just 9 percent of engineering doctorate degrees, 11 percent of engineering master's degrees, and 13 percent of engineering bachelor's degrees.
Johnson says that when she tours academic circles, she's discouraged by the lack of diversity.

"No matter where we go, when we look at the researchers, we don't see America," she says. "We might not be there now, but we can do it … I'll do what I can to push forward not for minorities, but for our nation. We need help. I'm convinced we have the minds available, but they need to be focused."

Irving McPhail, CEO of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, an organization that worked with Johnson on the bill, says it's designed to make the STEM workforce "reflect the demographic realities of America."
Carlos Rodriguez, principal research scientist at American Institute Research, says that without legislative intervention, minority students are destined to make up only about 15 percent of STEM bachelor's graduates.
"Across STEM fields, there's been a very narrow band [of minorities] graduating, between 13 and 16 percent [of all STEM degrees]. That has stayed pretty much constant since 1992," he says. "This bill will move the needle and will move us in the right direction. We've got to get behind supporting it."

U.S. News Announces First-Ever National STEM Convention
Washington, DC—For the first time, hundreds of business executives, HR managers, educators, policymakers, government officials, technology experts, philanthropists, community leaders, and association chiefs will gather on a national stage to develop solutions to the jobs crisis in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. At a time of high unemployment with many STEM jobs going unfilled, the conference will organize the broad array of STEM workforce issues, from how to engage young students to how technology can better align educators with job creators and the skill sets required. Another key objective of the summit is to find effective ways to increase public awareness of STEM and its connection to jobs.
The inaugural U.S. News STEM Solutions 2012: A Leadership Summit, taking place June 27-29 in Dallas, Texas, will result in a national consensus on best practices and the next steps, both short- and long-term, for ensuring a competitive workforce. "We are at a critical juncture in America today," says Brian Kelly, Editor and Chief Content Officer of U.S. News & World Report. "Maintaining our global competitiveness, our economic health, our national security, and our innovative spirit all depend on an abundant pipeline of tech-savvy workers."
Keynote presentations, including seven plenary discussions, will address top-level issues, such as the need for results in STEM education, implications of the forecasted skills gap, and finding common ground between college presidents and business CEOs in addressing the education-to-jobs disconnect. "Along with co-producers, U.S. News & World Report and Innovate+Educate, we are extremely proud to unveil the content for 'STEM Solutions 2012,'" says Edie Fraser, CEO of STEMConnector. "We have curated a slate of exceptional presentations around the theme 'Where STEM means jobs' that will likely define the national conversation for years to come." 
The following is a small sample from the host of forward thinkers participating in keynote panels:
  • Dean Kamen, Founder, FIRST
  • Ellen Kullman, Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, DuPont
  • Wes Bush, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, Northrop Grumman Corporation
  • NBA Hall of Fame and Global Cultural Ambassador Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • Joel L. Klein, Executive Vice President and CEO, Education Division, News Corporation
  • Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • Rick Stephens, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Administration at The Boeing Company 
Discussions will move beyond the critical but frequently debated issue of STEM workforce shortages and into the realm of specific solutions, according to Jamai Blivin, President and CEO of Innovate+Educate. "Anyone who plans to be part of the future of STEM education and employment in this country will want to join the conversation taking place at STEM Solutions 2012," she says. 
A curriculum of 20 breakout sessions is organized into tracks, according to the Summit's five overarching objectives:
  • The Demand Side addresses America's immediate need for "three million jobs in three years." Designed to facilitate the matching of supply and demand, sessions will focus on employer challenges in workforce planning and successful outcomes through partnerships;
  • The Supply Side covers education in relation to America's STEM future. Sessions such as "Post-Secondary Pathways to STEM" are geared toward fostering communication with educators and policymakers about needed skillspecific innovations;
  • Seeking the Best Return on Investment celebrates programs that are successfully aligning skills with jobs. This track includes sessions like "Undergraduate Education Models for New Workforce Needs" and "Strengthening STEM Philanthropy: Investing in the Best";
  • Policy, a Start but Not a Finish is intended to help form a national consensus on how to implement successful programs and includes sessions on subjects such as funding national resources and the K-16 pipeline; and,
  • Communications will explore how to raise public and political awareness. 
Aimed at reversing the detrimental impacts of the growing disparity between job skills and employer need, sessions will delve into the lack of mentors, STEM innovators in arts and entertainment, and building the STEM brand. In addition, the first day of the conference is dedicated to introducing the Multi-state STEM Network, an organized collective for advancing STEM through knowledge sharing. Presented in partnership with Battelle Memorial Institute, the 10 separate workshops will bring together representatives from a dozen states who will present case studies of successes and lessons learned.
"We left no stone unturned in our goal of amassing the brightest stars of STEM," says U.S. News's Kelly. "Still, the stellar content would be meaningless without an audience. We're looking forward to seeing an exchange of ideas among thousands of passionate participants."  

Registration open for Aggie-STEM summer camp
Middle and high school students can now register for the third-annual Aggie-STEM summer camp in June.
About 50 spots are available for the camp, hosted by the Texas A&M University Aggie-STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Center, which is a partnership of the university's College of Education and Human Development and the Dwight Look College of Engineering.
Linda Stearns, Aggie-STEM Center project manager, said the first two years the camp was held, it was open only to students from STEM Academies. Now the two-week camp is open to all students with an interest in STEM education.
Registration ends mid-May, and students can sign up for day or overnight sessions.
The camp's purpose, Stearns said, is to provide real-world experiences in STEM fields with university professors leading hands-on activities and labs.
"Students will also gain knowledge in mathematics, science and engineering that will enhance their standardized test scores and increase interest and curiosity about STEM and Texas A&M University," she said.
Stearns said for the event the camp is bringing in a rocketry professor from Texas Tech University, Dr. John Chandler, a robotics expert from The Valley STEM Center, Gus Perez, two mathematics education professors, Dr. Robert M. Capraro and Dr. Mary Margaret Capraro, and civil engineering professor Dr. Jim Morgan. PSAT and SAT prep classes for math, reading and writing will also be available.
Campers will be able to visit KAMU, where they will create and film interviews. They will also visit the STEM labs on campus, meet academic advisors and learn about college admission.
There will be time for a different kind of fun with movies, swimming, ice skating, bowling, golf, laser tag and games. Field trips are planned to the Wolf Pin Creek Ice Skating Ring, Adamson Lagoon Swimming Pool, the university's Recreation Center, the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum and Grand Station Entertainment.
Students can register for three different options for the camp. Option C is for high school students only and includes three meals a day and dorm rooms to stay in. Option A is a day-camp only and includes lunch and all classes, and Option B includes social activities in the evenings and on weekends but not the residence hall stay.
Aggie-STEM summer camp, June 11-22
* Registration ends mid-May
* Students can register for three camp options, costing between $650 and $2,000.
* For more information, go to aggie-stem.tamu.edu/summercamp/ or call 862-4665.

Lancaster ISD embraces STEM education
The Lancaster ISD is about to become the test lab for teaching methods that increase the number ofcollege-ready students with advanced math and science skills. If successful, the project will benefitnot only Lancaster students, but those on campuses all over the state.
In an innovative partnership, the Texas InstrumentsFoundation will donate up to $4.8 million over the next four years to Educate Texas. This arm of the Communities Foundation of Texas, in turn, will work with the Lancaster school district to improve the way it teaches science, math, technology and engineering.
The district is kicking in an additional $6 million of its own funds for teacher training, advanced classes and other classroom innovations. “It makes sense for us to have a program where kids can leave with more than just a high school diploma,” Lancaster Superintendent Michael McFarland said.
We applaud this collaborative effort, which could be a transformative step in public education. Educate Texas and Texas Instruments have supported advanced science, math, technology and engineering programs in specialized academies within individual schools, but foundation officials now want to see whether “over time we can change an entire district,” said Sam Self, chairman of the TI Foundation board of directors, who said the grant is the foundation’s largest in support of education.
The ambitious plan will extend science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs to all grades, K-12, throughout the school district. If the approach succeeds, educators would have a formula to replicate in other districts statewide. In addition to hiring and training STEM-proficient teachers, the district is exploring ways local businesses can assist, such as giving teachers and students opportunities, through internships, to better understand how STEM skills are used daily in business.
The school district enrolls about 6,200 students, many of them economically disadvantaged, and has struggled to increase the percentage prepared for college or the workforce. In the Class of 2010, about 19 percent of graduates were ready for college-level reading and math, well below the state average of 52 percent.
However, the district is beginning to move in the right direction. Under McFarland, who has led LISD for less than two years, the percentage of students scoring at the commended level on TAKS science tests has jumped from 9 percent in 2010 to 19 percent in 2011. While still below the statewide rate of 30 percent, the jump indicates that progress is being made.
Turning around a school district on the fly isn’t easy, but it can be accomplished by raising the bar for students and teachers, while at the same time having a superintendent, school board, community and parents all committed to making it happen.

Sheridan County School District 1 board of trustees met at the college with Northern Wyoming Community College District board members to discuss dual and concurrent enrollment and other issues related to the current education forecast in the state.
No action was taken, but members of each party brought forth current local and state education concerns they hoped could be remedied in some way with an ongoing relationship between District 1 and Sheridan College.
District 1 Superintendent Marty Kobza said he would like to see more career, technical education programs and industry based certifications through the college for his students. He explained how it's important when students can take classes and see the immediate real-world relevance of what they're learning
“It's exciting when we can make it meaningful for a student, and they can see they have a means to earn money right out of the class,” Kobza said. “We want to make that junior and senior year meaningful.”
Sheridan College President Dr. Paul Young said that more tech. ed. and industry certification could be one way to prevent there from being a pool of unqualified workers in a few years in the energy industry - something he was concerned about. He said the process of implementing new programs between the two doesn't have to be difficult.
“The school district ultimately is the one who decides what concurrent enrollment is," Young said. "We decide what warrants college credit.”
“You're [District 1] the right place for us to work with, let's pilot some programs.”
The discussion reached a wide range of interrelated topics, from the proposed admission standards at UW to college preparedness.
Though both institutions are under constant pressure from the state and federal government to show that students perform and at the same time complete their programs in a timely manner, each party was clear that they want to maintain their relationship in order to prepare students for life after school.
Dual enrollment has SC instructors teaching high school students, while concurrent is when students receive college credit from district instructors teaching the college's curriculum.
The Northwest Community College District works separately with school districts in the state, in an effort to cater to the specific needs and circumstances of each.

Texas to Receive $830.8 Million to Support Education Jobs


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced that Texas will receive $830.8 million to support education jobs.
"There is a huge sense of urgency to get these funds out the door," said Duncan. "These education dollars will help Texas keep teachers in the classroom working with our students this year."
The $10 billion education fund is supporting education jobs and is being distributed to states by a formula based on population figures. States can distribute their funding to school districts based on their own primary funding formula or districts' relative share of federal Title I funds.
During the past 2 1/2 years, the Education Department has been able to support 300,000 education jobs through stimulus funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. A July 2010 report from the independent Center on Education Policy found that 75 percent of school districts that received stimulus funds expect to cut teaching positions.

Istation.com to be recognized at upcoming Computerworld Honors Program ceremony
The Dallas-based istation.com, an interactive learning tool for at-risk students, has been recognized by the Computerworld Honors Program as one of its 2012 laureates.  Honorees are considered for their ability to use "information technology to promote positive social, economic and educational change," as stated by the Computerworld Honors Program website.
Though headquartered in Texas, istation.com is currently being used in 37 states and in seven countries. The website is geared toward most students, all the way from pre-kindergarten to senior year. It teaches by providing users with an assessment of their skills, often disguised as a game. When strengths and weaknesses have been identified, teachers can use the data to address areas of difficulty.
Awards will officially be given out to some of the 18 nominated laureates in Washington, D.C. on June 4. The ceremony will take place in the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium and will be preceded by a cocktail reception and dinner.
School: Houston ISD
Phone: 713.556.7376
POSITION TITLE: Teacher, Career and Technical Education (CTE) for
Trade and Industrial Education with approval in HVAC
Provides students with appropriate learning activities and experiences designed to fulfill their potential for intellectual, emotional, physical and social growth and to deliver instruction to cover Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) as prescribed by the Texas Education Agency.
• Minimum of a High School diploma or G.E.D.
• Texas Teacher certification for Trade and Industrial Education with approval in occupation for which instruction is offered or
• Alternative certification approval accepted for Trade and Industry certification with the appropriate approval.
• Current licensure by a state/national recognized agency in occupation for which instruction is offered.
• Industry certifications preferred.
• Three to five years of verifiable full-time wage-earning experience within the past eight years in occupation for which instruction is offered.
Houston Independent School Distict
Job Description
Teacher, Career and Technical Education (CTE) - Technology Education, Project Lead the Way-
 pre engineering program
10 months
Provides students with appropriate learning activities and experiences designed to fulfill their potential for intellectual, emotional, physical and social growth and deliver instruction to cover Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) as prescribed by the Texas Education Agency.
    Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
    Texas Teacher certificate in Technology Education or other certification appropriate for this area or
    Alternative certification approval accepted for Technology Education.
Contact:  mmitche1@houstonisd.org       713.556.7376   www.houstonisd.org