Monday, February 23, 2015

ESU Collaboration Results in STEM Teacher Training Grant

Dusti Howell, Ph.D., will serve as the
SMASH  Project Director
Emporia, KS – Emporia State faculty were notified late last week they were successful in obtaining a nearly $200,000 grant. Faculty in The Teachers College and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences were notified they will receive an Improving Teacher Quality grant through the Kansas Board of Regents. 

The project, STEM Makes Academic Success Happen (SMASH) was selected for funding in the amount of $189,067 over 19 months.

“Twenty-five teachers from Marais des Cygnes, Eureka, Southern Lyon County and Emporia will spend the next year working with us on innovative ways to get their students excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education),” said Dusti Howell, the project’s director.

Seven corporate sponsors have agreed to support this training. 

The goal of the project is to implement a partnership between Emporia State, school districts (grades 4-8) and STEM education companies, in order to improve teachers’ and students’ content knowledge of STEM as well as provide a means to stimulate and motivate student academic achievement.

Through workshops with practicing teachers, the SMASH project will use a variety of methods and instruction to increase teachers’ knowledge of their subjects. Included in this will be the use of affordable robotics and engineering challenges, working across subject areas and grade levels, training teachers with research-based academic success strategies, and using peer coaching to work towards long term improvement.

The project is a joint effort across the university, and will involve: Howell, professor in the instructional design and technology department, Matt Seimears, associate professor of the elementary education, early childhood, and special education department, Christopher Pettit, associate professor physical sciences department, and Joe Kern, instructional designer. 

In the workshops, teachers will create lesson plans written to Next Generation Science Standards the teachers can use in their classrooms.

The seven corporate sponsors of this training include: PITSCO, DEPCO, Snap-On, TRANE, Sunflower Electric, Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation and the Cosmosphere. These summer workshops will take place over the next two years.

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