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Seminole Chronicle: Long-term STEM professional development crucial for our teachers

Thursday, July 18, 2013

BY Ed Moore

Steven Ryzewski hit the nail on the head in his article, Schools Voice Need for STEM Teachers, published in the Seminole Chronicle late last week. As Ryzewski clearly expresses in his piece, the need for STEM-qualified teachers in our state has never been greater. While the education community continues to make strides toward preparing Florida’s educators to teach; programs such as the University of Central Florida’s Resident Teacher Professional Preparation Program (RTP3) are limited in the number of teachers they may impact.

It is important that all of Florida’s educators have access to the tools and resources to effectively teach our children. While RTP3 may be extremely beneficial to teachers entering the profession, supplemental professional development programs, such as Science Math Master (SM2), are designed to benefit teachers statewide through hands-on workshops and online tutorials, which are available 24/7 through the virtual e-Library developed by the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF).

Science Math Master provides educators in Florida with the ability to attend seasonal educational institutes, as well as remotely access lesson plans, teaching tools, and educational resources from any computer. Made possible through a grant from the Florida Department of Education and the hard-working faculty at the University of Tampa, SM2 is a professional development program focused on educating Florida’s high school teachers in STEM subjects such as biology and geometry.

Through the collaboration of teacher preparation and certification programs such as RTP3, and supplemental professional development programs such as SM2, Florida’s educators are not only given the opportunity to enhance their own skills, but also the educational experience they provide to our students across the state.

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