In working with so many amazing teachers and industry mentors since 2000, the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership has learned a great deal about the importance of education/industry partnerships, the power they have to transform learning, and how they empower teachers to make a difference in the lives of students and the future of the workforce.
Three Essential Elements
As a result of working with hundreds of teachers and industry mentors, we recognize three elements that are essential to building successful education/industry partnerships and developing relevant college and career-focused learning experiences from them. These are:
- Assisting teachers in establishing meaningful experiences with local industries
- Providing teachers with skilled instruction in the pedagogy of Project Based Learning (PBL), and
- Supporting teachers on their journey to developing and implementing successful PBL units by connecting them with experienced teacher leaders who have traveled that road themselves and can coach them through the process.
STEMwork was designed with these three critical points in mind. The teachers who participate in the program will go beyond the factory doors, inside the hospitals, and into the labs. They will learn about the varied kinds of jobs that are available in their communities and, with the guidance of skilled teacher leaders, they will learn how to use this knowledge to breathe new life into the subjects they teach.
The overarching goals of STEMwork are to:
- Increase the quantity and quality of engagement between local business/industry and K-12 education;
- Develop pedagogical knowledge and skills of K-12 educators to better prepare students for college, career, and the 21st-century workforce and
- Deliver the program in a way that is scalable, affordable, and equitable.
Paul Cancellieri, a Kenan Fellows Program alumn, discusses the benefits STEMwork, our newest professional development program that connects teachers and businesses through project-based learning.