STEMpath – How to Advance STEM Educators Career Development with a Graduate-level Certification Program

The Computer Science Teachers Association reports that of its 26,000 members, only 5-7% hold a dress or certificate in computer science (CS). The lack of expertise is having a severe impact on our future STEM workforce – Junior Achievement surveyed thousands of 13-17-year olds and found a decrease in teenagers’ interest in STEM careers. Boys considering a STEM job went down from 36 percent to 24 percent between 2017 and 2018, while girls’ interest remained at 11% year after year.

To meet the dire need for better STEM educator prep, mindSpark Learning and its partners (Couragion, Metropolitan State University of Denver and Colorado Succeeds) created STEMpath – a 12-month, graduate-level STEM certification program that brings expert STEM educators to every classroom.

STEMpath develops and up-skills educators to become highly-qualified STEM and CS teachers with the transdisciplinary skills, capacities and competencies to better prepare students for the modern workforce. It ensures educators have the competence and skills necessary to teach STEM and CS by fusing three critical components of teacher preparation that are traditionally offered separately:

Work-based learning through in-industry externships
Graduate-level coursework
Professional learning focused on Career Literacy, Information Science and Equity-Centered Design Thinking

Educators of all levels, school leaders and curriculum directors will benefit from understanding how STEMpath can affect educator retention goals, upskill educators and broaden participation in STEM teaching, while directly impacting the success of the future STEM workforce.

This workshop provides a demonstration of a STEMpath class, including coursework and a professional learning topic.

Attendees will:
Become knowledgeable about STEMpath’s certification process
Gain an understanding what types of coursework, work-based learning experiences and professional learning are available
Gain insights to analyze and improve their STEM curriculum

Attendees will provide input on what was discussed and can access mindSpark Learning’s social learning platform, ignite, following ASTE for continued access to professional learning content.

This will be led by Kellie Lauth, CEO of mindSpark Learning and Kiki Castle, mindSpark Learning’s director of professional learning.

Lauth leads mindSpark Learning in empowering educators through industry-oriented professional learning experiences. She’s also the District STEM Coordinator for Adams 12 Five Star School District. No stranger to STEM, she opened one of the first K-8 STEM schools in the nation in 2009, serving public school children with no entrance requirement. She continues to champion partnerships with businesses, industry and higher education to support and promote STEM education and address workforce readiness. She received a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in curriculum and instruction with a science education emphasis from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Kellie was a biochemical engineer in the field for two years before becoming an educator. Her first educator role was as a science teacher.

Castle is currently the Director of Professional Learning at mindSpark Learning and works with schools across the country to develop strategic plans to improve their educational practices and develop partnerships within their communities that provide students with authentic learning experiences. Over the years, she has worked in curriculum development and professional learning, as well as having been a behavioral therapist and elementary educator. Kiki has presented at the GlobalmindED Conference. She challenges the status quo by pushing educators to transform their pedagogy to meet the needs of all students, by having critical conversations that will revolutionize their school’s climate and culture.