Missouri University of Science and Technology is the state’s education leader in Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a national organization that develops K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum and trains teachers in an interdisciplinary, project-based method. And now Missouri S&T is a national PLTW leader as one of two colleges in the country to offer pre-service teacher training that will incorporate the program’s concepts and certification.
“We look to be a national model,” says Dr. Jana Neiss, director of Missouri S&T’s Teacher Education Program (TEP).
And that’s just what Project Lead The Way president and chief executive officer Vince Bertram sees, too, calling the initiative at Missouri S&T and the University of South Carolina a pilot program for the nation.
“We’re very confident in the leadership and reach of Missouri S&T,” Bertram says. “It’s been held up as a model, a national model. Missouri S&T is a great PLTW partner. We have tremendous confidence in the leaders to implement the program.”
Pre-service teachers are all of the students enrolled in Missouri S&T’s Teacher Education Program, Neiss says. They are called “pre-service” during training and “in-service” after they are certified and employed as classroom teachers.
Plans are for the Missouri S&T students earning secondary certification to complete PLTW training the summer between the junior and senior year or just after graduation. Elementary certification students have PLTW training embedded into the coursework, generally in the junior or senior year.
Because they’re already trained in PLTW concepts, Missouri S&T’s pre-service teachers can hit the ground running, taking what they learned immediately into the classroom.
“We have a strong interest in growing the teacher pipeline in STEM education,” Bertram says. “This is a multifaceted approach. We’re encouraging more students to go into teaching, especially those who go to Missouri S&T.”
Unlike some elementary education programs through which teachers earn a bachelor of arts degree with an area of concentration, Missouri S&T students earn a bachelor of arts in multidisciplinary studies with a concentration in science or math. They also are required to declare one additional area of concentration, either English language arts or social studies, Neiss says.
Missouri S&T’s Project Lead The Way training for current high school, middle school and elementary teachers is held from early June to late July this summer. Master teachers — current PLTW teachers with experience teaching the specific course or unit and who meet PLTW’s rigorous criteria for instructing adult learners — teach the courses.
For more information regarding Missouri S&T’s Teacher Education Program, contact Neiss or Dr. Mandy Welch at 573-341-4692.
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