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 https://mymindspark.typeform.com/to/L8C7i7.
About mindSpark Learning
mindSpark Learning is a Denver-based nonprofit dedicated to evolving education through educators, and creating mutually beneficial connections between education and industry. The organization began nearly a decade ago as Share Fair Nation to teach educators how to use technology in the classroom, and has since broadened scope significantly and changed its name to better reflect the work. mindSpark Learning provides innovative professional learning and development for teachers and administrators at all levels. Core content areas are those critical to today’s education landscape and include STEM, EdTech, Social/Emotional Learning, and Equity-Centered Design Thinking. Throughout their programs, the organization fosters engagement with and opportunities to leverage industry partners, driven by the belief that the strongest solutions for education will come from within, as well as outside of, the education sector. For more information: www.mymindsparklearning.org
Couragion is a Colorado-based, women-owned, educational technology social enterprise that is generously supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), AT&T Aspire, and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Couragion provides career literacy and workforce development solutions for educators, students and advocates in order to improve the awareness and perception of STEM careers and broaden the participation of underrepresented populations in those fields. Learn more at www.couragion.com and their blog STEM Crossings.
About Metropolitan State University of Denver
MSU Denver is a leader in educating Coloradans in university programs particularly relevant to the state’s economy and the demands of today’s employers. With the highest number of ethnically diverse students among the state’s four-year colleges, MSU Denver offers 76 majors plus master’s degrees in accounting, business, health administration, teaching and social work. Nearly 20,000 students are currently enrolled at MSU Denver, and 75 percent of the University’s 87,000 graduates have remained in Colorado as valuable members of the state’s workforce. https://msudenver.edu/
About Colorado Succeeds
Colorado Succeeds is a non-profit, non-partisan coalition of Colorado business leaders who join forces to ensure our education system works better and smarter for all people of Colorado. We believe Colorado is the best place to live and work, and we want it to stay that way. This great state can only continue its tradition of excellence when all of our children are educated to their greatest potential and all of our businesses have the talented and innovative workforce they need to thrive. We believe great schools are good business. We know when Colorado Schools improve, everybody wins. Learn more: www.coloradosucceeds.org.