June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
15.247.1 - 15.247.12
Building a collaborative K12 partnership
TechSTEP, Cyber Discovery, and NASA-Threads are partnerships between K12 schools and Louisiana Tech University that lead to an improvement of high school student achievement in mathematics and science. These partnerships result in better prepared students entering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs at the university level. Teachers from regional high schools and university faculty from STEM disciplines work together through multiple collaborative projects. Collaborators (including the authors) come from a broad range of disciplines: engineering, education, mathematics, and the liberal arts, as well as K12 teachers and administrators.
The collaborative partnerships developed between area high schools and Louisiana Tech University ensure that the curriculum and education programs are challenging but appropriately targeted for high school students. These projects reach schools which have differing economic and social demographics. Thus the partnerships provide for the development of a robust program that can be implemented in schools regardless of size, location, or economic status of the community.
The latest partnership, NASA-Threads, builds upon the u-Discovery model by providing professional development in the context of curricular design in physics and engineering. Teaching fellows, along with faculty from the university, spent the summer completing the initial development of this new curriculum. Following this intensive curriculum development phase, the three core partner schools implemented the pilot curriculum. By establishing a truly collaborative partnership, the curriculum is appropriately revised throughout the pilot year. In the next academic year, the program will expand to include 30 teachers from 15 schools. This paper presents a model for collaborative partnership between K12 schools systems and universities.
Science and Engineering Indicators 20081, enrollment in engineering and science undergraduate programs is expected to continue to rise because of a continued increase in the college-age population; but the report also indicates that, of those students who do enroll in engineering and science programs, only about 60% earn an engineering or science degree within six years. Salary data collected throughout the last century indicate increasing demand for engineers and scientists in the workforce. Clearly, there is a
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