STEM Forward: Building High Impact Talent
The Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Forward – Building High Impact Talent project is an innovative partnership among USC Aiken, Aiken Technical College, Aiken County Public Schools, the Bamberg School District Two, and local businesses and industries. Up to 110 per year for a total of 330 K-12 mathematics and science teachers in Aiken County Public Schools, the Bamberg 2 School District, and public charter schools and private schools will improve their abilities to deliver mathematics and science content that will enable more students to follow STEM Career pathways. The need for this project was identified through consultation with the partner LEAs, review of their respective strategic plans, SDE assessment data and a survey of local STEM initiatives. The three-year project goals are to:
1) improve teachers understanding of rigorous instruction, effective teaching practices, and the interconnectedness of STEM disciplines;
2) strengthen teachers' content knowledge and conceptual understanding of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics and the SC Science Academic Standards (most current revision of the Science Standards);
3) improve the preparation of K-12 students for entering STEM-related careers and higher education; and
4) attract STEM majors to the field of education.
Through the implementation of a strong STEM-focused curriculum, aligned to the MSP Focus Area 2, the Common Core State Standards Mathematics and the Next Generation Science Standards, the STEM Forward-Building High Impact Talent Project will advance the growth of teachers and ultimately improve student achievement across grades, K-16.
Teachers will train in STEM-focused and technology-enriched graduate courses, STEM training seminars, and symposiums. Sessions will be taught by USC Aiken professors, Aiken Technical College instructors and mathematics specialists at the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center. Teachers will engage in real world STEM connections through visiting STEM professionals, industry work sites, and STEM symposiums.
Expected outcomes of the project for teachers are 1) increased facility at integrating knowledge and skills across multiple STEM disciplines; 2) the ability to implement instructional best practices across all levels of cognitive rigor; 3) increased facility with using STEM focused technologies and real-world applications in the classroom; 4) a working relationship with a group of STEM professionals; 6) a working knowledge about career choices that depend on preparation in the STEM disciplines; and 7) increased content knowledge and skills in one or more STEM disciplines. The project will also generate more interest in teaching among those studying or working in STEM fields.
For students, expected outcomes are 1) improved academic achievement on state and national assessments; 2) increased interest in and readiness for higher level STEM courses and STEM related careers; 3) greater awareness of STEM careers and receptivity to studying related disciplines; and 4) increased numbers of STEM majors electing to teach in the K-12 arena.
The South Carolina Department of Education's Office of Instructional Practices and Evaluations administers the Mathematics and Science Partnerships (MSP) program under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2001, Title II, Part B, through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
An MSP grant project consisting of the following partners: