Board approves UT-Tyler partnership to support STEM education

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A professional development contract approved by trustees Thursday will enhance Career and Technology Education opportunities for students by making STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) training and curriculum available to more teachers.

The contract with Project Lead the Way, a non-profit organization that provides STEM curriculum and teacher professional development, will expand course offerings for Dallas ISD teachers at UT-Tyler, one of its designated training centers. The agreement will provide two-week onsite training programs that feature instructional coaching and development.

The five-year, $470,000 professional development investment in teacher training will equip teachers to better prepare students to enter STEM careers. The program will help educators stay up-to-date on trends in STEM teaching techniques, increasing the effectiveness of the district’s career and technical education courses. More and better teacher preparation is also expected to help the district comply with HB 5, state legislation that requires school districts to ready students to choose a graduation plan and career path as early as eighth grade.

Woodrow Wilson High School teacher Brandon Carver instructs courses in civil engineering, architecture, aerospace engineering and engineering design and development. Carver said the experience he gained at UT-Tyler was essential to improving his teaching skills.

“The master teachers at UT-Tyler take the time over the course of two weeks to go through the entire year’s worth of course material with you,” said Carver. “It is challenging because of how much course material is covered, but the reward is well worth it.  Each time I have left training – and I have done it four times – I have left confident in my ability to teach the entire class.  Additionally, since I have gone through the entire course, I have examples of the work I expect the students to be able to produce, and I have the experience of having already done it.”

To date, 11 campuses have adopted the Project Lead the Way STEM curriculum. Next school year, even more students will benefit as the district introduces courses in biomedical science at Bryan Adams and Sunset high schools, and software engineering at Bryan Adams and South Oak Cliff.

 

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