NCTAF Endorses the STEM Master Teaching Corps
NCTAF applauds the announcement of the STEM Master Teacher Corps, an ambitious and heartening call to close the STEM achievement gap by leveraging the expertise of experienced teachers. Our students need great teaching to help them become the skilled technicians, entrepreneurs, and innovators we need to thrive in the increasingly globalized community. To close our student achievement gap, we have to close our teaching quality gap. With this new program, the Administration is marshaling the resources the nation needs to reach this ambitious goal.
The Administration could get an even higher return on its investment if the Master STEM Teachers are deployed in cross-generational teams in which teachers at different stages in their careers learn from each other and from shared experiences with students. Over the last two decades, industries across the economy have transformed themselves into powerful learning organizations. Their quantum gains in performance are being driven by agile teams engaged in continuous collaborative problem solving and rapid innovation. Organizing people into teams makes best use of individuals’ differentiated skills and expertise. This strategy can – and must – be put to work in schools as well. While the Administration has signaled its commitment to recognizing and developing veteran teachers by dedicating TIF funds, funding for districts to plan for and support the strategic deployment of those teachers in collaborative teams focused on student learning will further ensure the success and the sustainability of this initiative.
NCTAF is currently tapping the expertise of veteran teachers by deploying them as mentors, content advisors, and curriculum coaches in STEM Learning Studios. NCTAF’s Learning Studios marshal the combined knowledge, skill, and experience that teachers need to meet next generation STEM standards. Similar to design studios in other fields, NCTAF Learning Studios organize industry professionals, teachers, and students into teams that tackle complex learning challenges with well-structured, hands-on inquiry projects. STEM professionals, working as part-time long-term “workforce partners,” discover how to translate their expertise into engaging lessons for students. Leveraging experienced teachers so that, with their community and school behind them, they can impact other educators is the way to develop effective teachers who will stay in the profession, thereby elevating teaching across the career continuum. This, in turn, will help all students achieve.