Western joins consortium to revolutionize STEM teacher prep

Western Today staff

Washington state is one of the early adopters of the Next Generation Science Standards, which are built on a framework of three-dimensional learning that integrates core ideas in science with the practices of science and engineering and connects them with big concepts that cut across all disciplines. Achieving effective implementation of the NGSS in school districts across the state means providing current and future teachers with the education and professional development they need in order to do so. To this end, a state-wide consortium of Washington state colleges and universities, in partnership with Washington's Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and other key stakeholders, have joined forces to re-envision STEM teacher preparation.

Among the leaders of the consortium is Western's Ed Geary, director of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education at Western.

By creating an improved model for STEM teacher preparation in Washington State aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and utilizing InTeGrate materials, this consortium is working to strengthen collaborations between institutions of higher education, school districts, and other partners; increase the emphasis on Earth literacy and education for sustainability; and support teachers both during their degree programs and beyond, as they enter the classroom. The shared vision developed by the consortium will guide the development of institutional action plans to improve programs.

The consortium brings together faculty and administrators from institutions across the state of Washington as well as K-12 teachers, principals, and district directors focused on revolutionizing science learning and Earth literacy for all Washington state students. Two workshops have been held (at Seattle Pacific University and Central Washington University) earlier this year to create a shared vision for STEM teacher preparation that reflects the needs, opportunities, and challenges of the NGSS and the 21st Century. A third workshop will be help Oct. 17 at Seattle University.

Faculty, administrators, and students from all of the following institutions have participated in the workshops:

  • Central Washington University, Ellensburg
  • Eastern Washington University, Cheney
  • The Evergreen State College, Olympia
  • Green River Community College, Auburn
  • Heritage University, Toppenish
  • Northwest University, Kirkland
  • Seattle Pacific University, Seattle
  • Seattle University, Seattle
  • Skagit Valley College, Mount Vernon
  • University of Washington – Seattle, Seattle
  • University of Washington – Tacoma, Tacoma
  • Washington State University - Pullman, Pullman
  • Washington State University - Spokane, Spokane
  • Washington State University - Tri-Cities, Richland
  • Washington State University – Vancouver, Vancouver
  • Western Washington University, Bellingham
  • Whatcom Community College, Bellingham
  • Whitworth University, Spokane

Other participants have come from:

  • Central Kitsap School District
  • Code.org
  • Ellensburg School District
  • Google
  • Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Pacific Science Center
  • Pacific Northwest National Lab
  • Professional Educators Standards Board
  • Washington State LASER
  • Washington STEM
  • Wenatchee School District
  • West Hills STEM Academy

For more information about the consortium and its activities, or to get involved, please visit the website at http://serc.carleton.edu/integrate/programs/implementation/program1/index.html. For questions, contact Anne Egger, Central Washington University (aannegger@Geology.cwu.edu) or Ed Geary, Western Washington University (Edward.Geary@wwu.edu).

Interdisciplinary Teaching about Earth for a Sustainable Future (InTeGrate), a 5-year STEP Center grant from the National Science Foundation, seeks to increase Earth literacy of all undergraduate students, as well as the number of graduates who are prepared to bring an understanding of the Earth to bear on the resource and environmental issues faced by our society today and in the future. For more information on InTeGrate, please see our website at http://serc.carleton.edu/integrate/index.html.

Thursday, September 24, 2015