NCTAF Wins Two Awards from the Amgen Foundation
Contact: Elizabeth Foster
Director of Strategic Initiatives
NCTAF Wins Two Awards in the Partnering for Excellence: Innovations in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education Competition
WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 15, 2011
The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) is pleased to announce that its STEM Learning Studios project has been awarded one of the two Judges’ Awards in the Partnering for Excellence: Innovations in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education competition, hosted by Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Opportunity Equation, and Ashoka Changemakers®. In addition, NCTAF’s STEM Learning Studios project has been awarded a Special Focus Prize from the Amgen Foundation for the Learning Studios innovation that demonstrates an effective partnership model enhancing STEM learning through inquiry-based methods.
NCTAF currently operates STEM Learning Studios in nine high schools and six middle schools in four Maryland school districts. One hundred and five teachers are working in cross-subject studio teams with twenty-one STEM experts from NASA, Northrop Grumman, the United States Naval Academy, and the Park Service. They will soon be joined by engineers from Boeing. In NCTAF’s STEM Learning Studios, teams of six teachers collaborate with STEM industry experts to design and implement a year-long series of interdisciplinary inquiry projects that are engaging one thousand students in complex learning challenges. During the past three years, these teams have engaged students in projects that have included: a multiyear study of school building energy use with the help of NASA and Northrop Grumman engineers, multiple investigations of climate change and green technology solutions, and an exploration of how to use NASA remote sensing data to assess and mitigate environmental pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.
NCTAF’s STEM Learning Studios create well-structured, long-term, part-time opportunities for STEM experts to make significant contributions to more effective teaching and deeper student learning. They are proving to be a particularly effective way to engage young women and students of color who too often tune out traditional STEM education.
“It is time to teach STEM the way we do STEM,” said NCTAF president, Tom Carroll, Ph.D. He added that “Learning Studios enable STEM experts to team up with accomplished teachers to do school differently. STEM experts, working in part-time, long-term volunteer assignments coach teachers as they develop stronger curriculum content. The teachers, in turn, mentor the STEM experts who develop their ability to support deeper student learning. Working together, these teams empower students to tackle significant challenges that enable them to master the competencies they need to become innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders in our global economy.”
NCTAF is honored to be selected for both one of the two Judges’ Awards and the Amgen Special Focus Prize. With this recognition and a growing network of government and industry partners, NCTAF will continue to mobilize accomplished educators and STEM experts to create schools that genuinely meet the needs of 21st century learners.
Additional information about NCTAF’s STEM Learning Studios may be found at www.nctaf.org. Information about the Partnering for Excellence: Innovations in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education competition is available at www.changemakers.com/stemeducation.
The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. NCTAF is dedicated to providing every child with competent, caring, qualified teaching in schools organized for success. With a network of state coalitions and partnerships with school districts and professional education organizations across the nation, NCTAF provides leadership on innovation and improvement in teaching and learning in America’s schools. For more information, visit www.nctaf.org.