NextGen-WA Working Groups
WGs in the following dimensions provide a structure for collaboration and communication, and help identify stakeholders, strategies, resources, and tools for assessment and transformation in STEM teacher preparation. Working Group members include faculty and administrators in colleges and universities from across Washington, K-12 education leaders, and staff from industry, non-profits, federal labs, and state agencies.
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The mission of the Diversity Working Group is to diversify the STEM teaching workforce through acknowledging and findings ways to navigate and modify persistent structures, policies, and practices that create barriers to STEM education and STEM fields for minoritized communities in Washington State.
The M in STEM working group is important primarily because Mathematics is one of the 4 pillars of STEM and is often a gateway into the other STEM disciplines. Without a solid foundation in Mathematics, students face barriers to all of STEM. For all K-12 students to be successful in STEM, teacher preparation programs must develop strategies to recruit and prepare mathematics teachers who are reflective of our professional standards and who are representative of the demographics of our state. Our group seeks to support TP programs' capacity to find innovative, highly effective ways of doing this.
The NextGen Clinical Practice working group is creating research-based, professional development to increase the knowledge and skills of university and pK-12 teacher educators about 1) the core practices that could guide their teacher education programs' clinical experiences and 2) the practice-based teacher education pedagogies that would enable graduates to align their teaching of pK-12 students with NGSS and CCSS. The following paragraph from the Core Practices Consortium sums up the need for, and purpose of, the NextGen Clinical Practice working group.
"The field of teacher education is in the midst of a major shift—from a primary focus on the knowledge needed for teaching to an increased focus on teachers' use of that knowledge in practice. However, there are too few opportunities for teacher educators who work across institutions, disciplines, and perspectives to grapple with what practice-based teacher education might look like and how best to prepare novice teachers to engage preK-12 students in equitable and meaningful subject matter learning. A driving purpose of our work together is to ensure that new teachers begin their careers significantly better equipped to create intellectually and emotionally engaged disciplinary learning for all of their students."https://www.corepracticeconsortium.com/
Computers have become an increasing part of our daily lives and are expected to continue to do so in the future. However, computer science education is missing from most of our K-12 schools. Over the last few years many organizations (for and non-profit) have been working to change this by offering teacher professional development in computer science and free or low-cost curriculum for the use of K12 teachers. While practicing teachers are being provided with support to learn CS well enough to introduce it to K-12 students, that support has not yet been included in STEM teacher preparation programs in Washington State. Those same STEM Teacher Preparation programs are already full of required content for those preparing to be teachers. The purpose of the Computer Science Integration Working Group (CSI-WG) is to identify and share how fundamental computer science learning can be integrated into existing STEM Teacher Preparation courses.
CSI-WG core members are on the forefront of Washington State Implementation of Computer Science education K-12 and network with various partners in STEM teacher preparation. Core members continually develop and deepen their understanding of CS education, including the K-12 Frameworks and the Washington State standards, and how key CS concepts can be integrated with other content standards. In addition, members contribute to both the development of the new endorsement in CS and to the integration of CS learning into the core classes for teachers across the state of Washington.
Education for Sustainability (EfS) Working Group is working to promote integration of EfS principles across the coursework taken by pre-service teachers in Washington State. Curricular and pedagogical development will be systems-focused, invoking place-, design-, problem- or project-based learning with an explicit emphasis on the interconnectedness of social, economic, and environmental justice. We believe it is critical for teachers' to have the capacity to help their students meaningfully address real-world challenges both inside and outside of the classroom.
In 2013, Washington State adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which deliberately integrate engineering and science practices. However, Washington State teacher preparation programs often lack engineering curriculum. This Working Group is working to provide STEM Teacher Preparation programs with information and support so that programs can incorporate engineering and problem solving core principles into the preparation of future P-12 teachers.