New STEM Professional Development Program Is Launched in Dallas
A new program to equip North Texas K-12 teachers with
skills to instruct their students in science, technology, engineering
(STEM) has been launched in Dallas. By the end of the year, more than
teachers will be involved in the hands-on professional development
Kosmos Energy STEM Teacher Institute, organized by the Perot Museum of Nature
Nearly 130 teachers at every stage of their careers
attend a four-day Summer Academy held at a school in the Dallas area.
be followed up by five weekend sessions throughout the school year. The
teachers involved will get free educational materials from the museum,
chance to be involved in special events and mentorship opportunities and
continuing professional credit for the work.
Unlike most professional development programs that
divide teachers up by grade level, the Kosmos Energy STEM Teacher
organized by the experience level of the teachers and their comfort with
science subjects — pre-service teachers (those who are still in training
have no classroom experience yet), novice teachers, advanced teachers
The three-year program organized by the museum is
part by a $450,000 grant from Kosmos
Energy, an oil and gas company, and
$150,000 from the Institute of
Museum and Library Science.
Museum CEO Colleen Walker said the program is vital
Texas because Texas elementary school educators are not required to be
certified in math and science. Since state testing in science doesn't
until the fifth grade, STEM subjects traditionally have not been
early grades. Even that much of a slow start can lead to students not
maintaining interests in the subjects as they continue their educational
"As a result, U.S. students are falling dangerously
STEM subjects, creating serious concerns for workforce development in
and industries where the U.S. was once a leader," Walker said.
For the last four years, Perot Museum staffers have
School District teachers professional training with its
Leaders in Science program. That program will now be folded into the
Energy STEM Teacher Institute.
"Leaders in Science is a tremendous program that
strong results and taught us a great deal, but the Kosmos Energy STEM
Institute takes that concept to a much higher and broader level," Walker
Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.