STEM Connector May 1,2018

Organizations Partner to Deliver STEM-Computer Science Educator Prep Program

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DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--While there is a high demand for STEM classes such as computer science (CS), in U.S. schools, educator qualifications to teach advanced STEM programs are severely lacking. Google research found that only seven states require a CS certification to teach AP CS courses.

To address this issue, a public-private-social partnership formed earlier this year to bring STEMpath - a prominent, graduate-level educator preparation program that’s the first of its kind - to educators. mindSpark Learning, Couragion, Metropolitan State University and Colorado Succeeds have teamed up to create direct access and pathways for all educators interested in pursuing STEM-Computer Science credentials.

The partnership is kicking off STEMpath, first focusing on the computer science path, in Colorado due to the high number of unfilled tech jobs across multiple advanced industries in the state. This plug-n-play program draws upon the combined expertise of the partnership by housing all of the best components of a top-ranking credential program, while being robust and flexible enough to meet the widespread demands of the various sectors.

"Computer science education is the foundation for our future tech workforce, yet the shortage of educators continues to grow," said Monica Coughlin, interim president and CEO at Colorado Technology Association. "STEMpath's unique approach to meaningfully engage industry in empowering teachers will pay dividends for students, our local tech community and Colorado's economy."

STEMpath will launch in Colorado in January 2019, with an eye toward nationwide expansion later next year. Open enrollment will begin May 2018, with generous scholarships available to educators from the Morgridge Family Foundation and other local donors.

"As a principal of a comprehensive STEM and PTECH school, the key to my school’s success lies in preparing teacher leaders through intentional professional development opportunities and offering access to further their educational career. Better training and support for our teachers gives us the ability to expand innovative programming. STEMpath will be a game-changer for my staff, students, and community," said Sharee Blunt, Principal, Northglenn High School, Founding PTECH Principal, Adams 12, and 2018 High School Principal of the Year in Colorado.

This program affords educators currently licensed to teach with a non-traditional pathway toward becoming computer science teachers with the goals of educator retention, upskilling and broadening participation. The STEMpath program combines coursework, work-based learning through in-industry externships, and professional learning to provide a well-rounded, well-informed perspective of computer science far beyond the traditional skills of coding and programming. Upon completion of this 12-15 month program, educators are qualified to teach computer science and oftentimes are eligible for a salary increase.

“Jeffco Public Schools is enthusiastic to support STEMpath as an exciting program to empower educators with the knowledge and skills to increase STEM opportunities for students,” said Marna Messer, Career and Technical Education Director of Choice Programming. “By participating in this innovative program of both coursework and in-industry externships, educators will be uniquely qualified to offer programming that will enable our students to fill the workforce shortage.“

To learn more about STEMpath, be the first to know when enrollment opens, or understand how you might get involved, please click here