The strength of a dedicated partnership between SMU Simmons, Dallas ISD, and Toyota to create a new STEM school in West Dallas will create new opportunities for students and their families, says Dean Stephanie L. Knight in a commentary published in The Dallas Morning News, November 26, 2019. Her op-ed was written in response to a city-wide challenge issued by the chairman of the Dallas Citizens Council to bridge the economic divide found in under-resourced areas.
Toyota awarded a $2 million planning grant to the Simmons School for the development of a new STEM pre-K to eighth-grade school, and Dallas ISD anticipates opening the school in 2021. Read more.
As a future workforce takes shape, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) plays a foundational role in education. To examine how business and education are collaborating on STEM, Dallas Innovates, a publishing venture between the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce and D Magazine Partners, invited a panel of experts to talk about the advancement.
Dean Stephanie Knight joined eight other leaders in the conversation, “STEM, STEAM, STREAM: In Dallas the Ingridients Are Here.” Read the three-part series:
Simmons Professor Leanne Ketterlin Geller joins SMU Lyle’s Assistant Professor Corey Clark, also deputy director of research at Guildhall, and Associate Professor Eric Larson to research teaching computer science and computational thinking through the popular video game, Minecraft.
With a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, they will examine the fields of game design, human-computer interaction, machine learning, curriculum design, and education assessment by integrating STEM+C (computing) based curriculum directly into Minecraft.
Ketterlin Geller is engaged in research and scholarship focused on supporting all students in mathematics education through application of instructional leadership principles and practices.
Associate Professor Annie Wilhelm and fellow researchers from North Carolina State received a $2.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct a four-year study of elementary and middle school mathematics instructional practice to respond to the growing needs of students who historically have been underserved in mathematics classes.
The project, Validation of the Equity and Access Rubrics for Mathematics Instruction (VEAR-MI), seeks to move the conversation beyond ambitious instruction and take initial steps towards specifying and measuring practices to support students in gaining access and more equitably participating in mathematics classes.
The goal is to provide foundational knowledge for improving mathematics teaching and learning, and address the critical need for research that directly links instructional practices to student achievement and participation.
Toyota, Dallas Independent School District, and SMU Simmons School of Education and Human Development formed a partnership one year ago to develop a new STEM-focused school in West Dallas. This past year, the partnership successfully laid the foundation for collaboration and planning.
“Our partnership works because Toyota helps us understand industry goals,” says Simmons Dean Stephanie Knight. “Dallas ISD, one of the largest school districts in the country, knows how to help public school students thrive and the West Dallas Community stakeholders provide insight into its needs. SMU is charged with providing research and evaluation that will enable us to improve public education.”
Six core teams have been actively engaged in co-design, focusing on curriculum, professional learning and distributed leadership, building design, community development, and research and evaluation. These teams also have participating members from West Dallas communities.
Additionally, support teams have focused on developing data infrastructure to support research and continuous improvements, developing communications strategies, and anticipating long-term sustainable funding.
Planning for the school is supported by a three-year, $2M grant from Toyota to Simmons. The school is expected to open in 2021.
The Simmons School welcomes two new faculty members and administrators, Anthony Petrosino, Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Outreach, and Tim Jacobbe, Professor and Chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning.
Petrosino served most recently as an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Texas at Austin, where he co-founded the nationally recognized UTeach program for teacher preparation in STEM.
He is a recipient of more than $17M in research grants from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, and the McDonnell Foundation. He currently has two active NSF funded projects. Petrosino is a learning scientist whose research focuses on scientific and mathematical reasoning in the context of experimentation, data modeling, and the development of expertise in STEM related fields.
Jacobbe, formerly an associate professor at the University of Florida’s College of Education, focuses his research on statistics and mathematics education. He assesses statistical concepts and the development of resources impacting the way teachers and undergraduate students learn content.
His contributions to statistics education were recognized by the American Statistical Association when they named him a Fellow for outstanding contributions to the field in 2016.
Both he and Petrosino will work on the development of the new West Dallas STEM school, which is planned in partnership with the Dallas Independent School District, Toyota and Simmons.
Candace Walkington, associate professor in Teaching and Learning, conducts research on how students can learn mathematics when the subject is connected to their interests outside the classroom.
Writing for InsideSources.com, Walkington gives examples of how to teach the abstract concepts of math by appealing to students’ career aspirations, physical movements, their surroundings and community, the creation of math problems, and other activities.
Walkington recently received the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering from the White House. Read more about her work here.
In an interview for Pathways to Success, a podcast hosted by Julian Placino, Dean Stephanie Knight discusses her passion for education and what led her to the top administration post at SMU Simmons.
For her, investing in public schools is important, and her commitment to urban schools made her explore what could be possible in Dallas.
During her first year on the job, she was able to forge a partnership with the Dallas Independent School District and Toyota USA Foundation to develop a K-8th grade STEM-focused school in West Dallas. Listen to her story here.
In the latest American Education Research Journal, Assistant Professor Candace Walkington and two co-authors use 20 years of data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study to look at readability factors in mathematics word problems.
Walkington and colleagues analyze length, word difficulty, and pronouns. They also interact with student background characteristics—such as race/ethnicity, mathematics achievement, and socioeconomic status. Textual features that make problems more difficult to process appear to differentially negatively impact struggling students, while features that make language easier to process appear to differentially positively impact struggling students.