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WGCU Radio: Hendry, Glades High School Students To Benefit From STEM Training

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

If a new program succeeds in its mission, high school students in Hendry and Glades counties will be better prepared to enter the workforce in fields related to science, technology, match and engineering.

Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida is partnering with the University of Tampa in an effort to improve education in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects for students in Florida’s rural school districts.

The ScienceMathMaster program was developed to improve student performance as Florida phases out the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test and phases in more end-of-course exams students will be need to pass in order to graduate from high school.

“The courses are Algebra I and II, Geometry, Biology I, U.S. History and Civics and pending is Physics and Chemistry,” said Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida President and CEO Ed Moore, Ph.D..  “So it’s problematic when you don’t have enough certified teachers to teach every student you have in your high school all of that course work.”

The program offers science and math teachers summer workshops, web-based training and online tools for educators to improve their own effectiveness in the classroom and become certified in the subjects they teach.

Funded through a 3-year Department of Education grant, the initiative will reach 600 educators teaching in 36 mostly rural counties throughout the state including Hendry and Glades counties in Southwest Florida.

Beyond improving performance on end-of-course exams, the program is better preparing students to pursue degrees and careers in STEM fields.  “I represent 31 colleges and universities across Florida and we have tremendous STEM related degree programs,” said Moore.  “We need to fill those seats with students that walk in the door capable of succeeding, capable of high performance, capable of then graduation and getting out in the Florida economy.”

Moore says he’s working with the Department of Education and state legislators to secure funding beyond the current 3-year grant and expand the program to teachers in all of Florida’s 67 counties.

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