This grant will sustain the professional development of K-8 teachers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects for the next five years and will allow the program to expand into Cochise and Yuma counties.
Currently the program operates in Prescott, Humboldt, Holbrook, Sedona, Winslow, Cottonwood Oak Creek, Verde Valley, Florence, and Saddle Mountain.
The Rural Communities Expansion Project was first launched by Arizona Science Center in 2012 to provide STEM professional development opportunities to K-8 teachers in rural Arizona schools.
APS Foundation has partnered with the Arizona Science Center since the beginning and has granted more than $2.4 million to the program. The project brings Arizona Science Center staff into schools around the state, where they deliver tailored professional development programs for teachers, training for administrators, and student programs featuring hands-on STEM projects and STEM Extravaganzas—full-day or evening events filled with various hands-on science activities and often comprised of multiple schools.
One such extravaganza kicked off the program in Holbrook Unified School District with six days of STEM activities back in December 2017.
“With this program, we are helping turn an entire generation of learners on to STEM subjects, while also preparing them for jobs of the future,” says Barbara Lockwood, immediate past board chair of Arizona Science Center and APS vice president of regulation. “Arizona Science Center provides opportunities for informal STEM learning on a daily basis, but this grant takes that education a step further by directly reaching teachers and administrators. It provides them with the knowledge and training to effectively inspire their students to engage in STEM.”
To date, the program has impacted more than 400 teachers, 10,500 students and 21 administrators from 15 schools in nine rural districts where opportunities for high quality STEM professional development were limited.
“The support we have received from Arizona Science Center through this grant has been instrumental in guiding our teachers to better instructional practices and connections to STEM education that we otherwise would not have,” says Larissa Richards, lead academic coach, Winslow Unified School District. “It’s been amazing to work with so many teachers across the district, see them grow as educators and impart their passion for STEM curricula onto their students.”
For more information on Arizona Science Center’s educator programs, please visit www.azscience.org/educators.
About Arizona Science Center:
The mission of Arizona Science Center is to inspire, educate and engage curious minds through science. The Center, located at 600 E. Washington Street in downtown Phoenix, features more than 300 hands-on exhibits, live demonstrations, the state-of-the-art Dorrance Planetarium and the five-story screen Irene P. Flinn Theater. CREATE at Arizona Science Center®, adjacent to the main building, is the newest addition. This 6,500 square foot community makerspace provides workshops, including 3D printing, laser cutting, microcontrollers, woodworking and sewing. The Center also offers various programs for all ages. Programs include Camp Innovation, Teen Science Scene, Professional Development and Learning for Educators, and adults-only Science With A Twist. For further details, please visit azscience.org.