The success of the Academy will in part come from the dedicated teachers in the program. STEM Academy teachers will not only come from STEM areas, but also from the areas of business, language arts, and social studies. Selected SLC time will be used to allow teachers to collaborate across curricula on STEM PBL projects and discuss students’ progress and/or interventions needed. In addition, core teachers will have common planning periods with other teachers in their content through Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to ensure proper alignment with State and Local standards.
All new teachers in the district take part in a mentor program with an experienced teacher on their campus in their field. Through the program, they will attend district and campus meetings and take part in conversations to help support the new teacher. New STEM teachers will also have the Academy TSTEM coordinator as an additional mentor to support them.
All STEM Academy teachers will be trained in the areas of Project Based Learning (PBL) and STEM curriculum. This professional development will be done in partnership with Educate Texas coaches. Teacher summer externships with STEM partners will also be part of the professional development plan. Academy teachers teaching advanced academics will receive necessary training through College Board and/or the National Math and Science Institute.
In addition to summer internships STEM Academy teachers will be provided with the opportunity to attend training geared to help teachers learn new and relevant content. Teachers will also be able to plan and design a curriculum better suited to their students’ needs that meets all State and Local standards.
Through the district and CTE department various opportunities for professional advancement will be provided to STEM teachers. The University of Texas at El Paso now offers the Engineering Education and Leadership masters to teachers interested in obtaining this degree.
The efforts and initiatives of the STEM Academy will also be regularly shared with the campus through the Academy T-STEM coordinator. The coordinator will be part of the department chair and CEIC meetings to provide updates on Academy progress, recruitment, and events. The STEM Academy coordinator will take part in SLC meetings with STEM teachers and the SLC coordinator.