Survey seeks input on STEM programs, teacher externships

By Lee Roberts

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 25, 2013) — Teachers in Middle Tennessee are working alongside scientists, technicians, engineers and mathematicians this summer to shape an applied curriculum in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.

According to a Teacher Externship Guide developed by the University of California at Berkeley, “teacher externships offer a unique development opportunity connecting the classroom to the workplace.  They provide an experience in which teachers spend time in a workplace to learn through direct experience about trends, skill requirements and opportunities in industries related to their subject in order to enrich and strengthen their teaching and bring relevance to student learning.” is working on a report to highlight how teacher externships are shaping STEM programs, improving students scholastically, keeping students interested in STEM subjects, and ultimately retaining young people in STEM career paths.

Teachers, students and parents are encouraged to take a five-question online survey to provide insight on what people think about externships improve the scholastic experience of both teachers and students involved with STEM subjects. The survey is posted below and can be taken in this online article.

In a U.S. Department of Education Race to the Top Report for Tennessee for 2011-2012, the second year the state has participated in this program, it explains that the program is “designed to encourage and reward states that are creating the conditions for education innovation and reform; achieving significant improvement in student outcomes, including making substantial gains in student achievement, closing achievement gaps, and improving high school graduation rates; and ensuring students are prepared for success in college and careers.”

Tennessee is one of 12 states and the District of Columbia that are participating in the Race to the Top Program.  The Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub is working with schools and teachers to improve scores in STEM subjects and is leading the effort to develop externships to help teachers develop applied curriculum.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District is hosting two groups this summer to share knowledge and give teachers hands-on experience with Corps operations. is covering this partnership and will use data collected from the STEM Externship Survey as it prepares its news report.

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