Professional Development | News

Sally Ride Science Academy Debuts Online STEM Professional Development Program

To help educators effectively teach a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math)-based curriculum in the classroom, the Sally Ride Science Academy has launched an online professional development training program.

Founded in 2001 by the late Sally Ride, America's first woman in space, the academy is devoted to encouraging students to pursue careers in STEM-related fields.

The more convenient and affordable online format will provide elementary teachers of grades 3-8 and school counselors with online STEM training in background preparation, classroom activities, and teaching strategies, and allow them to progress through the same key topics with discussions and project-based work moderated by course instructors as the traditional academy.

Based on the Canvas Learning Platform, the online training program includes real-time tools that allow users to interact with the instructor, as well as collaborate with peers. The program also features a notification tool to remind teachers about class discussions and assignments and an interface designed to provide easy access to online sessions that include videos, e-books, integrated media recordings, and virtual labs.  Additionally, the Canvas App Center offers a variety of smartphone apps for iOS and Android mobile devices.

"We know most students are engaged and curious about science and math in the early elementary grades," said Sally Ride Science CEO Sheryle Bolton, in a prepared statement. "But too many students — particularly girls and under-represented minorities — lose interest in those disciplines by the end of middle school. Economists tell us that more than 80 percent of all jobs in the coming decades will require some kind of STEM background. It is essential for our nation's future that we help prepare students to seize this opportunity."

The following school districts have access to the new online academy:

The Sally Ride Science Academy, which is sponsored by ExxonMobil, provides college and career readiness training and tools to promote students' interest in STEM fields and careers and offers professional development and STEM training to elementary and middle school students. The Sally Ride EarthKAM, a NASA-funded educational outreach program, helps students, teachers, and the public learn about Earth from the unique perspective of space. Visit for more information.

About the Author

Sharleen Nelson is a freelance journalist based in Springfield, Oregon. She can be reached at

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