NCTAF Receives $500,000 Carnegie Corporation Grant for STEM Initiative

Posted by on October 16, 2012 in Announcements, Featured, Learning Studios | 0 comments


October 16, 2012—Washington, DC—The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $500,000, two-year grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to document and evaluate the impact of its STEM Learning Studios initiative. Learning Studios are project-based learning environments in which teachers within the same school work in interdisciplinary, cross-curricular teams.  Together with professional scientists and engineers, teachers from different content areas develop and implement year-long investigative projects.

Carnegie’s generous support will allow NCTAF to expand and deepen the evaluation of the components of NCTAF’s STEM Learning Studios and to document the strategies that have made the initiative successful. This intensified evaluation will help lay the foundation for taking the innovation to scale in other states.

First piloted in 2009, STEM Learning Studios are now thriving in 30 schools in Maryland and 5 schools in New Hampshire, deploying 35 teacher/expert teams for a total of 200 teachers and 30 STEM workforce partners, and working with approximately 4,000 students. From the beginning of the project, NCTAF has contracted with an independent evaluation team to assess program effectiveness and to guide expansion of the project. NCTAF is currently working with WestEd, a nonprofit organization that conducts research on educational policies and interventions.

“We are thrilled about the Carnegie grant. This support will help NCTAF refine and improve the STEM Learning Studios approach and enable us to build a strong technical assistance strategy for state and district leadership to engage teachers, students, and communities in collaborative teams,” said Elizabeth Foster, NCTAF’s Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives. “This is a very exciting next step for NCTAF as it will help us share what we’ve learned so far and build a strong foundation for replication,” she added.

“Carnegie recognizes that NCTAF is poised to find out how to maximize Learning Studios’ outcomes for both students and teachers and to be able to articulate and share lessons that states and districts can use moving forward,” said Michele Cahill, Vice President, National Program, and Program Director, Urban Education at the Carnegie Corporation of New York. “We’re excited to see what tangible, actionable processes NCTAF can document and disseminate to enrich the field.”

STEM Learning Studios “change the teaching process by surrounding students with teams of teachers and professionals who are passionate about their work,” notes Tom Carroll, President of NCTAF. “Students have access to rich STEM coursework and pathways to college and career success, while teachers have access to dynamic professional development and collaborative, job-embedded professional learning.”

“NCTAF shares Carnegie’s aspiration to bring together different constituencies around a movement to ‘do schools differently’,” added Dr. Carroll. “We need to improve and strengthen the entire teaching and learning enterprise, beginning with more rigorous teacher preparation and extending to more effective ways to organize teaching and learning in schools.  NCTAF STEM Learning Studios are creating the schools we need to prepare students to be successful innovative entrepreneurial thinkers, able to compete in the global economy.”

The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) was founded in 1994 to ensure that every child has access to quality teaching in schools organized for success. In partnership with national, state, and local education agencies, NCTAF develops prototypes for innovative teacher preparation, collaborative teaching teams, and strategies to leverage community engagement, sharing the impact of these programs with those who influence education legislation and policy.

Grounded by 15 years of research about quality teaching and the conditions that facilitate successful learning, NCTAF is helping to transform schools across the country into collaborative, connected environments. Preparing the next generation of learners is a demanding job that no teacher should be expected to tackle alone. In a culture of collaboration and continuous professional development, teachers become more engaged in professionally rewarding careers and are able to more effectively educate our mobile and digitally-connected learners.


Stacey Finkel
(703) 304-1377


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