Introduction /Project Goals

The C.E.N.T.E.R.S. (Cultivating Engaging and Nurturing Teachers for Educationally Resilient Students) for STEM Education is a multi-tiered teacher and mentoring development program for teachers and students at every stage of learning and readiness. The cornerstone of the C.E.N.T.E.R.S. approach is the pre K-16 model that pairs HBCUs with local school districts. The C.E.N.T.E.R.S. for STEM Education is designed to develop student interests, motivation, and persistence in STEM disciplines and to cultivate effective teaching and mentoring skills at all levels of development. This program exposes students, teachers, university faculty, university student mentors, education administrators, and community stakeholders to a variety of year-round community engagement and summer enrichment programing. The training is designed to increase the motivation and persistence of students in STEM disciplines and enhance the effectiveness of teaching and learning in those disciplines. The target audience are students from schools where a majority of students routinely score in the bottom achievement quartile of state-mandated standardized tests. Therefore, all of the components, including the summer enrichment, mentoring, community design teams, and faculty development activities will be aligned with the Standards of Learning, Virginia’s standardized tests, and the counterparts in other states.

C.E.N.T.E.R.S. Project Goals

  1. The goals of the planning grant project are as follows:

2. To study key features of the current professional and youth development summer intervention programs in science and mathematics at VSU that have been demonstrated to be effective;

3. To design a step-wise coordination of these programs to provide graduated experiences in science and math for students from the 3rd through the 12th grade;

4. To design trainings for high school teachers, college teachers, and college student mentors in innovative, evidence-based pedagogy based on outcomes from previous NSF-funded projects;

5. To design interventions to increase teachers’ knowledge of student identity challenges, effects of trauma, and other vulnerabilities that act as barriers to STEM achievement, and develop strategies for mitigating these barriers;

6. To design components of professional development for teachers which help to decrease levels of teacher stress and burnout;

7. To develop training modules to increase science and math efficacy and decrease science and math anxiety among in-service and pre-service teachers.

8. To conduct an evaluation study on the effectiveness of the core characteristics of our model in preparation for developing a full center grant proposal in partnership with five HBCUs: Virginia State University; Virginia Union University; Dillard University; Xavier University; and the University of the District of Columbia;