FIRST® was established in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young peoples’ interest and participation in science and technology. One of the organization’s best-known programs is the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®); a unique Sport for Mind™ which combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of 25 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It’s as close to “real-world engineering” as a student can get. FRC is one of four programs within the FIRST Progression of Programs. The 2012-2013 FIRST season attracted more than 300,000 youth and more than 120,000 mentors, coaches, and volunteers from 70+ countries. The annual programs culminate in an international robotics competition and celebration where teams win recognition, gain self-confidence, develop people and life skills, make new friends, and perhaps discover an unforeseen career path.
New Teacher Center (NTC) focuses on improving student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers. NTC partners with states, school districts, and policymakers to design and implement systems that create sustainable, high-quality mentoring and professional development; build local leadership capacity; work to enhance teaching conditions; improve teacher retention; and transform schools into vibrant learning communities where all students succeed. The Santa Cruz New Teacher Project is one of many NTC’s partner programs across the nation.
e-Mentoring for Student Success (eMSS)
The New Teacher Center e-Mentoring for Student Success (eMSS) is an innovative, nationwide content and exceptionality specific online mentoring program that advances high-quality math, science, and special education instruction for all students by accelerating the effectiveness and increasing the retention of new teachers of these subject and specialist areas.
Talented and expert science, math, and special education teachers are often in short supply in hard-to-staff schools. School leaders have limited availability to release the few content experts available from their classrooms to focus on instructional mentoring or professional development of their newer colleagues. Even with face-to-face induction and mentoring programs in place, science, math, or special education teachers may have nowhere to turn for content or exceptionality specific support or professional development related to their subject area.
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a national nonprofit organization, leading the way in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education for students in grades 6–12. In 2014, PLTW will launch an elementary-specific STEM program, expanding its curricular offerings from kindergarten through 12th grade. PLTW’s activities-, projects-, and problem-based curricular programs in engineering and the biomedical sciences engage students in rigorous and relevant learning. More than 5,000 schools in all 50 states and D.C. implement PLTW programs of study, and each year, PLTW trains over 3,000 teachers through its rigorous professional development program. An engaged network of post-secondary, business, industry, and public sector organizations have voiced their support of PLTW, partnering to engage more students in STEM education. Recently named to the Social Impact Exchange’s S&I 100 list as a top 100 nonprofit organization in the United States, PLTW is proud to prepare America’s students for the global economy.
Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding individuals of all academic disciplines to commit two years to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the movement to end educational inequity. In the fall of 2013, 11,000 corps members will teach in 48 urban and rural regions across the country, while 32,000 alumni will work across sectors to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
The Infinity Project is a nationally recognized leader in high-tech engineering education for secondary schools. Created by Southern Methodist University (SMU) Lyle School of Engineering in partnership with renowned engineering professors and education experts, this innovative program sparks students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). For over a decade now, this innovative program has helped schools and districts across the country bring cutting-edge engineering curricula to students. Students focus on the math and science behind Electrical, Mechanical, Civil, Environmental and Biomedical Engineering. Hands-on engineering design projects tie key concepts together and bring math and science to life for both students and teachers. Educators use this results-oriented program to encourage students, especially those under-represented in STEM, to pursue higher level math and science course work. The Infinity Project provides schools with rigorous, relevant, flexible curriculum that is modular in format and may be taught as a year-long standalone course or incorporated into existing STEM classes.
- Engineering for Today’s Intermediate School keeps students in 6th–9th grade engaged as they learn how math and science concepts apply to real-life applications. Activities are centered on twelve modules covering major engineering disciplines. Students apply concepts through fun, hands-on engineering design projects.
- Engineering Design exposes high school students to new and relevant applications of math, science, and technology. The program consists of four modules covering electrical, mechanical, biomedical, and environmental engineering. Students learn to think and act like engineers as they develop creative solutions to real-world problems.
- Math for Innovators helps high school students focus on the application of math to engineering concepts. Students utilize a variety of mathematical methods and models to represent and analyze problems within the disciplines of electrical, mechanical, environmental, and biomedical engineering.
The Infinity Project provides instructors with the complete solution for implementing STEM into the classroom. Educators receive cutting-edge engineering curriculum, best-in-class professional development and comprehensive instructional support materials—fully preparing them to inspire and motivate students to pursue STEM fields of study. Hundreds of middle schools, high schools, and colleges in 38 states and seven countries are utilizing this cutting-edge engineering curriculum to educate the innovators of tomorrow. The program has trained 910 instructors and impacted thousands of students—better preparing both for success through math and science based engineering. As a result, educators continue to be very excited about The Infinity Project and the benefits their students receive through this important educational initiative.
UTeach, a teacher preparation and support program launched at The University of Texas at Austin in 1997, provides undergraduate math, science, and computer science majors with both a rigorous degree in their major and full secondary teaching certification without the requirement of additional time or cost at the university. In its first decade, UTeach was so successful at significantly increasing the number of certified STEM teacher graduates at UT Austin that it began receiving inquiries from universities around the world. The UTeach Institute was established in 2006 to both support replication of UTeach at universities across the United States and to lead efforts toward continuous improvement of the UTeach model. The UTeach Institute partners with the National Math and Science Initiative and the states of Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, Massachusetts, Florida, Maryland, and Arkansas to replicate UTeach at universities across the country. A complete list of strategic partners is available at http://uteach-institute.org/about/detail/partners/.
Currently, more than 6,200 college students are enrolled in UTeach programs at 35 universities in 17 states and collectively they have produced more than 1,600 graduates. In May of 2013, UTeach held its seventh annual conference in Austin. Teams representing all UTeach university partners convened to share best practices in STEM teaching and learning as well as insights into building a successful UTeach program. The UTeach Conference also provided policymakers, funders, and interested universities an excellent opportunity to learn more about the program.
The UTeach Institute is currently preparing to select 10 research universities to begin UTeach program implementation during Spring 2014, increasing the number of UTeach programs nationally to 45.