New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
Best Practice for Incorporating STEM into Rural Schools: Train and Invest in Teacher Leaders (RTP)
Despite the fact that more than one-fifth of all public school students attend rural schools, these students often lack opportunities enjoyed by their urban and suburban counterparts. Due to their small size and geographic isolation, rural schools often have difficulty attracting talented teachers and tend to offer fewer advanced math and science, AP, and dual credit classes. Likewise, rural public school teachers and students are limited in their access to outside partnerships.
This paper outlines a best practice for integrating STEM into rural schools—increasing access to STEM teacher training and support. A metropolitan university extended the opportunity for rural science and math teacher leaders to participate in a grant funded program that would provide them with deepened content knowledge, pedagogical training, and long-term coaching on ways to integrate STEM into their coursework. The rural teacher leaders created and implemented contextualized STEM materials that matched rural students’ interests and provided training, formally or informally, to their colleagues. In addition, by focusing efforts on teacher leaders rather than students, the program’s effects has the potential for sustainability beyond grant funding, as the teacher leaders could influence many students and fellow teachers throughout their careers.
First, the salient details of the courses and professional development program in which teachers participate over two summers are presented. Second, the coaching support to guide the teachers to produce curricular units that are uniquely suited to their classrooms is described. The coaching support continues over the school year as teachers implement the curricular units. Third, samples of these units designed and delivered to rural middle and/or high school students are outlined, including any quantitative or qualitative evidence of student learning.
As the project highlighted in this paper also served urban and suburban districts, the paper will also compare baseline data on college and career readiness and evaluation results related to project implementation between the rural schools in the project and all other schools participating in the project. Also, it will explore how participating teacher leaders from rural schools served as proponents of STEM in their buildings in ways that varied greatly from their urban and suburban counterparts.
Steimle, J., & Kukreti, A. R., & Maltbie, C. (2016, June), Best Practice for Incorporating STEM into Rural Schools: Train and Invest in Teacher Leaders (RTP) Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26375
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