The DoSeum’s Stem Teacher Cohort Program is now accepting applications. Credit: Courtesy DoSeum

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From science fairs to summer camps, the educational programs of The DoSeum offer San Antonio’s early learners and their caregivers a parade of opportunities to dive deeper into the concepts of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), the arts, and early literacy. All of these programs are rooted in The DoSeum’s mission to promote joyful learning and discovery – growing minds, connecting families, and transforming communities.

What people may not know is that in addition to our programs developed for children, The DoSeum also serves as a resource and laboratory for local elementary teachers to bring hands-on STEM learning and inquiry to their classroom instruction. This programming manifests itself in the form of not only day-long workshops – a common model within museums across the country – but also year-long opportunities that have teachers working hand-in-hand with DoSeum educators. These programs introduce real change within the teachers’ classrooms, and The DoSeum’s STEM Teacher Cohort program is one such model.

Entering its fourth year, the STEM Teacher Cohort program begins with a rigorous application process each fall, with 25 teachers from across the city’s school districts selected and invited to join the program. For the first half of the program, teachers attend a monthly workshop series centered on constructivist and inquiry-based teaching strategies, with a focus on the nationally recognized Engineering is Elementary curriculum. For all lessons, following these sessions, theory is put into practice as teachers lead several week-long summer camp sessions built around the new curriculum. Upon completion of the program, cohort members earn more than 100 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours, curriculum units valued at $1,500, and ongoing support from DoSeum educators and their fellow teachers. In 2017, for example, the program immediately impacted over 350 students in classrooms across San Antonio.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 8.6 million STEM-based jobs were part of the U.S. workforce in 2015, representing a growth of 10.5 percent from 2009. Further, the national average wage for all STEM occupations was nearly double that of non-STEM occupations. The same report projects that, between 2014 and 2024, occupations in mathematical science will grow by 28.2 percent (the average projected growth rate for all occupations is 6.5 percent). Related, employment in computer occupations is expected to grow by 12.5 percent – nearly 500,000 new jobs. As The DoSeum’s STEM Teacher Cohort program continues and grows, the goal is to better equip San Antonio’s early learners for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow.

Applications for The DoSeum’s 2019 STEM Teacher Cohort program are now being accepted, and are open to teachers of third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students. Learn more and apply hereApplications are open through Dec. 21.

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Richard Kissel

Dr. Richard Kissel has more than 20 years of experience working within museums, focusing on STEM education in both formal and informal environments.