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NEA awards first STEM challenge grant to Colorado initiative

Teaching grant will help prepare Colorado students for careers in STEM


WASHINGTON - January 15, 2013 -

The National Education Association awarded its first STEM challenge grant to Colorado’s STEM training initiative. The teaching grant will help prepare more Colorado students for careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

NEA granted $200,000 to the New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning (NJCTL) for teacher training and certification, technology and support to expand its math and science program in Colorado. The NEA challenge inspired the Morgridge Family Foundation and Xcel Energy to provide the matching funds to complete the Colorado’s STEM training initiative. Colorado Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia, Colorado Education Association President (CEA) Kerrie Dallman, along with representatives from NJCTL, Morgridge Family Foundation and Xcel Energy announced the grant award earlier today at Northglenn High School in Northglenn, Colo.

"Colorado's economy is adding jobs in STEM-related fields every day and we need to meet this growing demand by educating a highly-skilled and competitive workforce,” said Lt. Gov Joe Garcia. “Colorado is replicating progressive science and math training programs that will help translate a teacher's first-rate instruction into better learning for students in the classroom."

“NEA applauds Gov. Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Garcia, the Colorado Education Association, the Morgridge Family Foundation and Xcel Energy for their commitment to helping Colorado’s students succeed in the worldwide economy. We are thrilled to be working together to get additional qualified, caring, and committed math and science teachers into the state’s classrooms,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.

“We know a great teacher can make a tremendous impact on a student’s desire and ability to master STEM content, but Colorado lacks the number of teachers we need to help enough students learn these exciting subjects,” said Colorado Education Association President Kerrie Dallman. “This investment in STEM will put more qualified, caring, and committed math and science teachers in our classrooms, furthering our state’s collective goal of preparing every student to thrive in a dynamic economy.”

President Obama has called for the training of 100,000 new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers to prepare students for the 2.7 million new jobs expected in those sectors by 2018. NEA responded in October with a $500,000 challenge grant that calls on leading business and technology companies and philanthropists to join the Association in working to expand a successful program created by the New Jersey Education Association to increase the number of certified science and math teachers.

“Improving STEM education is imperative for the energy business and other sectors as well as our overall economy,” said President and CEO of Public Service Co. of Colorado, and Xcel Energy Company. “More than half of our current jobs require STEM degrees or extensive math or science skills. These are positions critical to our business.”

NEA’s goal is to raise $1.5 million to help fund efforts to take the model created by New Jersey’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and bring it to schools across the country. CTL’s Progressive Science Initiative cultivates highly qualified educators to fill science and math teacher shortages. The program has added more than 130 new physics and chemistry teachers since it began in 2009. CTL’s Progressive Science Initiative (PSI) and Progressive Mathematics Initiative (PMI) uses free digital materials to support the teaching of more than 20 courses in math and science, which some 500 existing STEM-subject teachers have used to improve teaching and learning in New Jersey schools.

"I want to express my appreciation to the NEA, Morgridge Family Foundation and Xcel Energy for having confidence in a program that has proven so successful in New Jersey and for providing the financial support needed to bring it to the students of Colorado," said NJCTL Executive Director Dr. Bob Goodman.

"The Morgridge Family Foundation is thrilled to be a part of bringing Bob Goodman and his exceptional physics and math training programs to Colorado. We believe in doing all we can to transform the lives of students and teachers through proven instructional strategies,” said Morgridge Family Foundation Vice President Carrie Morgridge.

“There is a clear understanding that our nation’s prosperity is tied to innovation and that innovation will be spurred by our ability to engage students in STEM subjects and programs. NEA will continue to lead efforts to improve STEM teaching and learning and invest in programs that work,” Van Roekel added.

NEA has invested nearly $21 million during the 2012-2013 school year to improve public schools and create an education profession focused on quality and equity for students. Those resources have gone to programs such as NEA’s Priority Schools Campaign, which uses collaborative strategies and innovations to help transform low-performing public schools throughout the country.

Learn more about this STEM program, and see other resources on STEM education, at www.nea.org/STEM

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

Contact: Celeste Busser (202) 822-7823, newsdeadline@nea.org