FSU awarded $14.3 million grant for STEM teacher program

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Florida State University’s STEM research center will receive up to $14.3 million in new grants from the state Department of Education for professional development programs for teachers, as well as build up the state’s online collection of science, technology, engineering and math curriculum resources.

The FSU Florida Center for Research in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (FCR–STEM) is developing FCR–STEMLearn, a two-week summer teacher program.

FCR-STEMLearn will enhance teachers’ understanding of math and science, according to acting director Rabieh Razzouk, and help them develop effective lesson study teams to demonstrate “challenging courses in these critical fields.”

Groups of three to six teachers will create lesson study teams in schools or districts, working together to establish goals, lesson plans, and collaborate to hone teaching skills.

FCR-STEMLearn also offers follow-up support to teachers throughout the school year with instructional resources through  CPALMS —  collaborate, plan, align, learn, motivate and share — a Web site providing free curriculum and other digital tools to help teachers put into practice state education standards.

As part of summer training, participants work with scientists and mathematicians in Florida State’s College of Arts and Sciences to increase learning as well as improve model lessons to share with math and science teachers statewide by means of the CPALMS portal.

“This combination — enhanced knowledge and curriculum development — is a key strength of FCR–STEMLearn,” Razzouk said in a statement released today. “Teachers not only learn more about their subject but also come away with lesson plans they can use to bring that new knowledge into the classroom to help their students learn.”

“More Florida students are enrolled in STEM courses than ever before,” said Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart. “It is critical that we provide teachers the high-quality support and training they need to ensure students leave our schools with math and science skills that will help them obtain well-paying and much needed careers. I am pleased that the Department of Education and FSU can offer these tools and resources to help teachers give their students the best chance at success in college, career and life.”

“Teachers typically work alone, and this can limit their growth and development,” Razzouk added. “Collaboration through lesson study teams ends this isolation and brings teachers together to address common concerns, to share best practices and to work toward continuous improvement.”

Created in 2007 by the Florida Legislature, FCR-STEM is a multidisciplinary research center designed to improve teaching and learning in K-12 science, technology, engineering and math and prepare students for higher education and STEM careers. Located at The Florida State University, the Learning Systems Institute administers FCR-STEM.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.