Please tell us more about how your partnership was formed and how it functions. What specific role does each partner play? What unique resources does each partner bring to the initiative?
To recruit teams, the PM contacts corporations when we identify a targeted need for teacher and student support. After identifying an interested corporation, the PM meets with its representatives in person to outline the program and the necessary commitment. In cases where the PM identifies specific professionals before speaking with representatives from the corporation where they work, the PM and STEM professionals work together to gain corporate support for their participation. We also anticipate referrals of STEM professionals from previous project partners.
Each TSP team works with all of the teachers across one grade level on professional development, and to plan interdisciplinary projects. They work with students by teaching project components, by evaluating student work, and by being available for out-of-class support. Between in-person meetings, TSP partners communicate via online forums (TAF Academy uses Moodle—an online workspace—to house syllabi, class assignments, forums, etc.) and email, and by Skype. Partnering STEM professionals agree to respond to students and teachers within 24-48 hours of receiving a question online. Each TSP team also meets once per week for 2 hours, outside of the school. The PM is present at these meetings, which STEM professionals use to plan assignments and labs, grade assessments and read surveys taken to determine students’ mastery of the material STEM professionals have presented. The average weekly time commitment for each STEM professional is 3-4 hours.
Successful partnerships are able to benefit all parties: they provide teachers—many of whom are unprepared to teach STEM subjects—with necessary ongoing professional development; they expose teachers to new knowledge and demystify science for teachers by demonstrating the real-world application of scientific knowledge. Scientists also benefit, personally and professionally, and learn to appreciate the challenges and opportunities in K-12 education.
How are you building in accountability for students' successful STEM learning outcomes? Please provide a summary and examples.
In addition to students’ grades on TSP-supported projects going toward their final core course grades, students get credit for an “Extended STEM Research” elective for the project components that are specifically supported by STEM professionals. For example, if a student designs and populates a website for a humanities class, and the web design is taught by a STEM professional, the student’s programming will be assessed by the STEM professional and that grade will go toward Extended STEM Research. The information contained in the website will go toward the humanities grade. Students also sign contracts to demonstrate their commitment to TSP.
Please use this space to elaborate on your selection above and/or to add needs that may not be listed.
We could use more publicity about our programs outside of Washington State; we would like to expand our reach and share results more broadly. We could also use funding for the project and the school itself (whose existence enables project development). And, we are always looking for STEM professionals to act as mentors for our students.
Please use this space to elaborate on your selection above and/or to add offers that may not be listed.
We are working to document the TSP model so that it can be shared with other educators. And, we are structuring TSP-related trainings so that they can be recorded and shared online. We can work with other educators and STEM corporations/professions who are interested in implementing this program.