September 2011 Issue
August 31, 2011

NYSUT broadens STEM program

Author: Bernie Mulligan
Source: NYSUT United
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David Fritz, a Valley Stream TA member and English teacher, leads a discussion about teaching English Advanced Placement courses with teachers from around the state.

New ELT classes focus on
AP courses

David Fritz, a Valley Stream TA member
and English teacher, leads a discussion
about teaching English Advanced Placement
courses with teachers from around the state.
The innovative AP instruction program was
initiated by the Education & Learning Trust
(ELT), as part of the union's effort to
provide ongoing, high-quality professional
development throughout the year. It was
one of several conducted at
NYSUT headquarters.

As the American economy leans more heavily on jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math, fewer students in our classrooms are choosing those fields. Government estimates show that 15 of the 20 fastest-growing occupations require significant STEM training to compete successfully for a job.

NYSUT is addressing this learning gap with its innovative SEMI High Tech U teacher and student workshops, in close collaboration with partners in K-12, higher education and the burgeoning high tech industry.

"We have to ensure our students have the skills they need to succeed in the emerging technologies and 21st century workplace," said Maria Neira, NYSUT vice president, whose office coordinates the union's program. "The SEMI High Tech U is a great vehicle for this model of professional development."

This summer the dynamic program expanded to new audiences. The union's teacher program spread from the Albany area to the Southern Tier in July, when NYSUT, in collaboration with Corning Incorporated, held a two-day training in Painted Post. The 40 participants came from several local districts, including Corning-Painted Post, Watkins Glen and Oxford.

Union members from Alfred State College and Corning Community College shared their best practices, as did representatives from major corporations including Corning Inc., Dresser Rand and Sikorsky.

In its second year, the student edition was sponsored by the Capital Region BOCES and assisted by NYSUT, led by union members Marc Peimer from the Capital Region BOCES Teachers Association and Mark Kaercher from the North Colonie TA.

Many of the students were recommended by their teachers who had attended previous teacher programs. NYSUT, BOCES, industry leaders and local colleges worked together to maximize the students' learning experience.

The students received an industry overview, including presentations from RPI professors and IBM practitioners, a tour of the new world-class GlobalFoundries chip processing facility in Malta, Saratoga County, a visit to the Schenectady Community College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and a visit to Hudson Valley Community College's TEC-SMART facility.

Capital Region teachers came to NYSUT headquarters for the fourth annual "teacher edition" workshop. It featured practical instruction on how to integrate the new technology into student learning experiences, and educators also heard from industry professionals.

"Some of the hands-on, project-based activities we're learning can work wonders in the classroom," said science teacher William Pickett from Schenectady High School. "Sometimes kids only see what's in their immediate world. If we can bring them in other directions, they'll flourish."

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