Asee peer logo

Best Practice for Incorporating STEM into Rural Schools: Train and Invest in Teacher Leaders (RTP)

Download Paper |


2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division: Research-to-Practice: Principles of K-12 Engineering Education and Practice

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Julie Steimle University of Cincinnati

visit author page

Julie Steimle received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Secondary Education from Thomas More College. She served as development director and managed academic programs in two non-profit organizations, Pregnancy Care of Cincinnati and the Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati, before coming to the University of Cincinnati in 2009. Ms. Steimle initially coordinated UC’s Supplemental Educational Services Program. Currently, she is the Project Director of the Cincinnati Engineering Enhanced Math and Science Program.

visit author page


Anant R. Kukreti University of Cincinnati

visit author page

ANANT R. KUKRETI, Ph.D., is Director for Engineering Outreach and Professor in the Department of Biomedical, Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the University of Cincinnati (UC), Cincinnati Ohio, USA. He joined UC on 8/15/00 and before that worked 22 years at University of Oklahoma. He teaches structural mechanics, with research in steel structures, seismic analysis and design, and engineering education. He has won five major university teaching awards, two Professorships, two national ASEE teaching awards, and is internationally recognized in his primary research field.

visit author page


Catherine Maltbie University of Cincinnati

visit author page

Dr. Cathy Maltbie is a Research Associate at the University of Cincinnati with a joint appointment with the Evaluation Services Center and the Arlitt Child and Family Research and Education Center. She has a BS in Chemical Engineering and a Doctorate in Educational Foundations. Her research areas include evaluation, cognitive and social aspects of educational environments, and STEM education from pre-K through graduate school.

visit author page

Download Paper |


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

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015