Bringing Expert STEM Educators to All Schools

Teachers are the key to a sustainable STEM pipeline. STEMpath will increase the number of highly-qualified STEM and CS teachers, create relevancy and excitement for students and ultimately increase the number of skilled students entering the STEM workforce: a systemic change. Each STEMpath cohort is made up of teachers from all grade-levels and disciplines. On average, each participant will impact 26 student lives, reaching 400-650 students every year.

Why STEMpath?

What is STEMpath and Why is it Needed?

There is a growing need for STEM and Computer Science pathways in education, not only for students but also for educators.

STEMpath provides a way to fulfill this growing need by affording educators the opportunity to take part in a graduate-level program that provides them with the competence and skills to teach STEM and computer science.

This program is unprecedented; the combination of work-based learning through in-industry externships, coursework and professional learning focused around career literacy, information science and equity-centered design thinking provides a well-rounded, well-informed perspective of computer science far beyond the traditional skills of coding and programming.

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Current STEM Workforce

Equity and Access in the STEM and Computer Science Workforce is Imperative to Future Careers

Quality Teacher Shortage Hinders K-12 STEM Education

  • Most CSTA members do not identify
    themselves as ʻCS teachersʼ, but
    rather as ʻteachers of CSʼ

  • Only 1 in 9 members have taken a college
    level course in CS and only 5 – 7%
    have a degree or certificate in CS

  • There are ~5,000 annual openings in education

  • There is a 15% attrition rate in the first five years of an educator's career

  • There has been a 22.7% decline in higher ed teacher prep programs from 2010-2015

Learn More

Learn More About STEMpath

Learn more about the classes facilitated by our award- winning mindSpark Learning facilitators, the higher education courses that set the program apart and the externships that are offered by some of the nation’s leading STEM industries.


Professional Learning Semester

Equity-Centered Design Thinking . . .

This course provides training to implement a culture of innovation through strategic thinking with a prominent focus on equity. The activities and experiences will include creative problem-solving simulations, human-centered explorations with authentic users in the community, hands-on prototyping with a variety of supplies and tools, and robust feedback-reflection-iteration loops. This course builds on the students’ own educational background and prepares them for additional certification in Technology to help them teach classes, at the K-12 level, in the fields of Computer Science, Information Technology, and Cybersecurity.

Career Literacy . . .

This course provides training in career literacy and workforce readiness for the fields of Computer Science, Information Technology, and Cybersecurity with an emphasis on equity and accessibility in the classroom. Participants will complete experiential learning tasks aimed at attaining career literacy and work-based skills. This course builds on the students’ own educational background and prepares them for additional certification in Technology to help them teach classes, at the K-12 level, in the fields of Computer Science, Information Technology, and Cybersecurity.

Information Science . . .

This course provides interdisciplinary training in information science. Participants will gain practical concepts and skills required to succeed in a technology-enabled, information economy. The activities and experiences will focus on communication, collaboration, productivity, and innovation with an emphasis on equity and accessibility in the classroom. This course builds on the students’ own educational background and prepares them for additional certification in Technology to help them teach classes, at the K-12 level, in the fields of Computer Science, Information Technology, and Cybersecurity.


Externship Semester

Teacher Externship . . .

This course for the STEMpath Graduate Certificate provides an intensive industry externship, designed for those educators enrolled in the STEMpath program. This course provides industry relevant work experience in the field of computer science. Participants will work on industry-assigned project-based work for a total of 135 hours. and complete a culminating capstone project to take back to their classroom the following fall and beyond.

Externship Classroom Integration Course . . .

This course for the STEMpath Graduate Certificate provides educators the opportunity to reflect upon their externship projects and develop a way to bring what they are learning back into their classrooms. This course provides the opportunity for educators to take what they learned from their externships and build plans to integrate the learnings and projects into their classrooms.


Higher Education Semester

Algorithms and Programming . . .

This course is an introduction to programming and basic algorithms. The focus of this course is on the fundamental programming techniques in a modern high level programming language and the use of basic algorithms to solve computational problems. Discussion covers the use of flowcharts and pseudocode, the creation of prototypes that use algorithms for solving computational problems, the creation of named variables representing various data types and lists/arrays, control structures including loops and conditions, problem decomposition, the implementation of procedures using functions or methods, and the design, development, and documentation of programs.

IT Systems . . .

This course covers hardware, software, and their interaction, along with the foundations for finding where errors typically occur in IT systems. An overview of networking technology with emphasis on the layered approach and the related protocols is covered. How data are collected, represented, presented, analyzed, and applied is covered. The creation of a set of data via simple programming is addressed.

Cybersecurity Regulations and Laws . . .

This course is twofold. First, it provides a broad overview of cybersecurity. The terminology, approaches, and underlying technologies used in cybersecurity are covered. Understanding of common cyber-attacks, risks, and techniques for identifying, detecting, and defending against cybersecurity threats are addressed. Social engineering, cryptography, and network and application security are introduced. Second, this course introduces current cyber regulations and laws as they relate to cybersecurity. Students will examine the role, both by private and public sectors, in securing cyberspace. Students will also examine legal/policy and ethical issues such as privacy, surveillance, civil liberties and constitutional protections in securing cyberspace. Finally, the course will explore emerging compliance frameworks for cybersecurity.


Interested in Applying for STEMpath? Click the Button Below.

Partners

Partnerships Built for Scalability and Replication

We are excited to announce that the STEMpath program was declared a winner of Pathway 2 Tomorrow's $15,000 stipend that helps bring to life local policy, process and educational approaches. Learn more about the amazing partners of STEMpath below, and how you can get involved as a future partner of upcoming cohorts.


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Are you interested in sponsoring STEMpath or hosting teacher interns? Click the button below.

 
The Results

STEMpath Paves the Way for Stronger STEM Education

STEMpath is an alternative teacher credentialing pathway that develops and up-skills educators to become highly-qualified STEM/CS teachers with transdisciplinary skills and competencies necessary to preparing students for modern workforce.

 

 
Our district is designing new Innovation Labs, and as we were designing the Labs and discussing curriculum, we knew we needed Computer Science teachers in them. Education is having a hard time recruiting and retaining classroom teachers much less CS teachers. After completing mindSpark Learning’s STEMpath, the three teachers in the program will become highly qualified Innovation Lab teachers and district trainers. The STEMpath certification is the most important component! If our labs will be successful, it will be because we have Computer Science teachers in the labs facilitating learning. Without mindSpark Learning, schools and districts would not be progressing as quickly.”
— Jo Conlon, Coordinator for Digital Media Literacy at Thompson School District
 

 

Participants of STEMpath’s first cohort have reported:

  • 100% find the program to be more innovative, valuable and inspiring than any other professional learning experience they have had

  • 100% will apply their learning to their practice, and feel they will positively impact student learning, intentionally contact potential partners to benefit their students and actively engage in making a positive change on the culture and climate of their organization

  • Universal excitement to bring what has been learned through their coursework into their classrooms to inspire students

  • A reignited passion for teaching STEM and sharing their knowledge with colleagues to create a solid, school-wide strategy for teaching CS and STEM

  • 100% will recommend STEMpath to their colleagues


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