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UNF College of Education awarded $4.4 M grant to prepare PK-2 teachers

Grant to support effective educator development by integrating STEM and computational thinking in classrooms

COEHS Petway Hall buildingThe University of North Florida College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) has been awarded a $4.4 million three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to prepare teachers in pre-kindergarten through second grade (PK-2) classrooms to integrate STEM and computational thinking in teaching models. 

This supporting effective educator development grant, Project InTERSECT, will expand existing partnerships with Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) and Northeast Florida Regional STEM2Hub to provide teachers with evidence-based professional development activities that address the need of DCPS students as well as evidence-based professional enhancement which includes activities leading to advanced credentials. 

The project will serve 180 teachers and teacher candidates across three cohorts. This will directly impact the instruction of more than 3,000 PK-2 students, across a pool of 74 high-need DCPS elementary schools which includes six charter schools and two DCPS-UNF professional development schools as well as the UNF Preschool. Prioritized implementation will be in 17 schools in the area’s qualified opportunity zones. UNF faculty involved with the project include Dr. Stacy Boote, COEHS associate professor, and Dr. Meghan Parkinson, COEHS assistant professor, as well as Kathleen Schofield, STEM2 Hub executive director. 

 “This project will create a pipeline of classroom teachers prepared to enhance the integration of STEM and computational thinking within their classrooms,” said Dr. Diane Yendol-Hoppey, dean of UNF’s COEHS. “This educator training will provide our youngest children the opportunity to explore interesting and relevant STEM ideas in a project based, hands-on way. We are thrilled to be collaboratively elevating and empowering teachers through our strong community partnerships with DCPS, STEM2Hub and 5C Academy.”

Project InTERSECT will serve as an online set of professional learning and enhancement experiences for PK-2 teachers and teacher candidates that will be designed to transform educator readiness and capacity to engage in STEM and computational thinking instruction. Recognizing that strong instructional practices emerge at the intersection of content, pedagogy and implementation, this project will focus on strengthening STEM knowledge for primary teachers, areas where growth is needed. It will focus on teaching evidence-based approaches for improving and enhancing young learners’ achievements in STEM, computer science and computational thinking, while also fostering self-regulation skills in PK-2 students.

The first cohort of students will begin Summer 2021. More information on UNF College of Education and Human Services can be found at