SANTA FE, N.M. — Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Math and Science Academy is partnering with Pojoaque Valley School District and New Mexico Highlands University to launch a new STEM teacher education program.
The partnership will introduce experienced Pojoaque Valley teachers and Highlands education majors to the best practices in STEM instruction from across the country, according to Kathy Keith, director of the Laboratory’s Community Partnerships Office.
“We see it as important from the Laboratory’s perspective to develop the workforce of the future, really for the region as a whole,” Keith said. “These skills are increasingly important.”
Over this school year, the three organizations will work together to better understand the challenges of teaching STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – to elementary and middle school students.
The program will begin in earnest next year, with 20-25 teachers and education majors participating.
Lorenzo Gonzales, education specialist with the Math and Science Academy, said a major goal is ensuring that participants have a thorough grasp of math concepts.
“Mathematics is the language of science,” Gonzales said. “Without the mathematics, there is no science.”
Recently, Pojoaque Valley Middle School teachers learned about algebra’s core concepts during the Math and Science Academy’s Ir-Rational Number Institute at Northern New Mexico College.
LANL selected Pojoaque Valley – a district of roughly 2,000 students located 20 miles north of Santa Fe – from a number of applicants because the superintendent, school board and teachers were committed to the program, Gonzales said.
“We were not concerned about scores; we were concerned more about were they ready to step into something this challenging,” Gonzales said.
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