The STEM Academy for Science Teachers & Leaders has wrapped its first year of successful implementation. In the summer of 2017, 16 teachers and six leaders at six DISD middle schools participated in the first cohort which included an intensive 90-hour professional development course on STEM active learning techniques over a three-week period on SMU campus. The academy focused on project-based learning and maker-based instruction. During the 2017 – 2018 academic year SMU staff met with the teachers and leaders at regular intervals for a total of 85 coaching cycles that focused on honing the techniques learned at the academy and foster meaningful growth to increase inquiry-based instruction in the science classroom, and brainstorm additional ideas for instruction planning.
Summer 2018 will bring Cohort 2 onboard, while Cohort 1 from the previous year advances on. The teachers are able to earn graduate credit towards a Master’s degree from the Simmons School of Education as part of this collaboration. The academy and ongoing project is generously funded by the Texas Instruments Foundation and the O’Donnell Foundation.