Best of 2013: 9 Organizations Changing the STEM Equation
In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama named one challenge as central to our country's future and issued a call to action: prepare 100,000 new, excellent science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teachers over the next 10 years. 100Kin10, launched in 2011, is a national network designed to address that call, bringing together committed stakeholders to address the need for excellent STEM teachers for the nation's K-12 classrooms.
100Kin10 challenged a broad cross-section of organizations, including federal agencies, states, school districts, universities, nonprofit organizations, corporations, and foundations, to take a fresh look at their resources and consider how to apply them strategically to improve STEM teaching and learning. To date, more than 150 vetted, best-in-class partner organizations have made commitments in three categories: increasing the supply of STEM teachers, retaining excellent STEM teachers, and building the 100Kin10 network. These 150 have together trained more than 12,000 teachers in the two years since 100Kin10's launch and have committed to recruit and prepare 37,000 STEM teachers over the first five years of the effort.
Since its launch, 100Kin10 has hosted two national summits and seven R&D convenings. The network has earned national attention, including a fine shout-out by The New York Times editorial board. It has raised more than $52 million in pledges from 26 funders to support the work of the partner organizations. Most recently, the New York State Attorney General chose to direct a settlement of $7.5M to 100Kin10 to support it and its partners' STEM teaching work.
In 2014, the great challenge and opportunity of 100Kin10 is to become a vehicle for partner organizations to design better solutions to their greatest challenges in training and supporting excellent STEM teachers than they could alone. We're trying it with a co-designed and crowd-funded partnership with Baratunde Thurston and Cultivated Wit to craft an awesome set of recruitment materials to persuade STEM undergrads that teaching is an awesome way to start their careers. You can help make it happen in the new year.
With that in mind, below is a quick rundown of some of the most exciting work of nine of 100Kin10's partners in 2013:
1. The New York City Department of Education: The New York City Department of Education launched innovative recruitment initiatives, including the creation of novel videos and web content that highlight New York City teachers who are participating in cutting-edge STEM partner programs. In conjunction with the New York Academy of Sciences, the NYC DOE also launched the "Scientist-in-Residence" program, made possible by three 100Kin10 funders, to pair local scientists and graduate students with New York City teachers to collaborate on the development and roll-out of long-term science investigations with one or more classes of students.
2. The Academy for Urban School Leadership: Two years into its partnership in 100Kin10, the Academy for Urban School Leadership is nearly halfway to its five-year goal of preparing 100 new STEM teachers for Chicago's public schools. This year, in addition to graduating the largest class of teacher residents in the organization's history, it also tripled the number of STEM teachers who began their career in AUSL-managed public schools. All of its new teachers benefit from individualized, technology-supported coaching to help them develop and advance their practice through their first two years in the classroom.
3. Citizen Schools: This non-profit matches citizens with meaningful volunteer opportunities in low-income public middle schools and has connected more than 1,000 volunteers with students to tackle STEM topics such as Ice Cream Science, Design Thinking, Animation, and Urban Gardening. Realizing that even 100,000 excellent STEM teachers could use a jolt of inspiration from other STEM professionals, Citizen Schools launched US2020 with a goal of a million STEM mentors. The White House just blogged about it.
4. California State University: California State University holds the title for the nation's largest producer of math and science teachers in the nation: Last year, they prepared 1,504. With 100Kin10, CSU is partnering in a rigorous research study examining best practices for preparing teachers for the Common Core in Math. In collaboration with 100Kin10 partner Google, CSU launched an online communitysupporting beginning STEM teachers. And with 100Kin10 partners the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, CSU has provided over 350 beginning science and math teachers with leading-edge research experiencesin distinguished national labs.
5. Breakthrough Collaborative: In 2013, Breakthrough Collaborative recruited over 600 STEM undergrads to apply for its competitive summer-long teaching residency, a 62 percent increase over 2012. Over 200 talented, diverse STEM undergrads were selected to teach math or science full-time over the summer to low-income, academically motivated middle-school students at one of 25 sites across the country. On average, 75 percent of Breakthrough Teaching Fellows pursue careers in education, so they've essentially built a cracker-jack recruitment pipeline alongside a powerful vehicle for directly providing kids with STEM learning they wouldn't have gotten otherwise. Pretty great two-fer.
6. Sesame Workshop: In September 2013, Sesame Workshop—the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street—launched a new initiative, Little Discoverers: Big Fun with Science, Math, and More! With funding from three 100Kin10 funders, this digital destination for the first time utilized Sesame’s engaging and loveable Sesame Street Muppets not just for preschoolers and their caregivers but specifically for teachers to help them incorporate STEM concepts and skills into everyday moments. These free resources include interactive Sesame Street games, engaging videos, fun hands-on activities, educator materials, and parent and caregiver materials.
7. New Teacher Center: New Teacher Center offers new teachers gold-standard induction and mentoring support. By improving the capacity of new teachers to support student learning, NTC finds outstanding STEM teachers and trains them to mentor new STEM teachers. These mentors work with their mentees one-on-one each week, online or in person, to help them improve instruction, classroom management and content knowledge. Since partnering with 100Kin10, NTC has already supported over 4,500 STEM teachers across the country.
8. New Visions: New Visions, a New York City-based school support organization, is a couple years into an innovative teacher-preparation program in partnership with Hunter College. The program integrates coursework focused on developing teachers' math and science chops with a clinical residency in a high-need school. The residency has graduated 47 teachers who are working in hard-to-staff NYC schools. As current resident Shigemitsu Yoshii reflected, "The program is helping me to become not just a teacher, but an effective teacher."
9. Public Impact: Even as we look ahead to fulfilling the goal of 100,000 excellent STEM teachers, we're aware that the need is yet greater. Public Impact created the Opportunity Culture initiative, which uses job redesign and technology to extend the reach of excellent teachers and their teams to more students, for more pay, within budget. Pilot schools in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Nashville received about 30 applications per "reach" job opening—in schools where teaching slots previously went unfilled. In Charlotte, teachers such as Romain Bertrand, a middle school "multi-classroom leader" who leads a team that reaches all the school’s math students, earn pay supplements of up to $23,000.
These are just a few examples of the outstanding work of our partner organizations. Follow us on Twitter, donate $10 or $10,000 to make the Indiegogo campaign a reality, apply for partnership (every fall, requiring the nomination of an existing partner), join the funding collaborative, support teachers in your local community—help make 2014 a turnaround year for STEM teaching nationwide.
Want to help 100Kin10 recruit new STEM teachers? Click here to say you'll do it.
Students in teacher in class working on electronics project image via Shutterstock