Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) announced Monday it has been selected to receive a $200,000 Keck Grant focusing on education for future science teachers graduating from the university.
CSULB will lead a two-year project called Developing Engaging and Effective Practice: Advancing STEM Education via Univeristy-Community Collaborations through the grant. The project is aimed to strengthen science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning by “fostering partnerships between local after-school programs and informal science education institutions.”
“There is still a need for good, passionate science teachers, but we need to give them more authentic and more positive experiences before they walk into a classroom for the first time,” said CSULB science education associate professor James Kisiel, who serves as the lead for the grant, in a statement.
For the project, CSULB will collaborate with Cal State Los Angeles (CSULA) and four community partners, including the Boys and Girls Club of Long Beach, the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) Beyond the Bell after-school program, the California Science Center in Los Angeles and the Aquarium of the Pacific.
“We want to help new teachers, both elementary and secondary level, to feel more confident when they get to the classroom,” Kisiel said. “This is an extraordinary supplemental experience that we hope not only makes them feel more confident as a future teacher, but also helps them to become more confident and comfortable teaching science.”
The project will be based off three models that work together to show how providing future teachers with out-of-classroom science experiences will better prepare them.
The first model, an early field experience, works together with the Beyond the Bell program and undergraduate STEM students.
The second model, a teaching practicum experience, will work with the Boys and Girls Club to allow elementary and secondary teacher candidates to prepare for working in the classroom.
The third model will work with the California Science Center and Aquarium of the Pacific to provide paid informal science 15-week internships for new teachers before they get into a classroom. These students will be recently credentialed and will work with youth and families while gaining experience in active learner engagement in science.
The CSU said in a statement it hopes to implement the three-model program on all 23 of its campuses.
Kisiel estimates that more than 150 future teachers and thousands of young students will benefit from the program.
The grant is part of a $225M campaign for CSULB, which is the first comprehensive fundraising campaign in the history of the university and one of the largest in the CSU system.
“It also represents a cultural shift that encourages all community members to pro-actively participate in achieving the university’s mission: to provide highly-valued educational opportunities through superior teaching, research, creative activity and service,” CSULB said in a statement.
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