The National Center for STEM Elementary Education
St. Catherine University has a long and respected history of producing effective, successful elementary educators. To put it plainly: We know teaching.
That knowledge has informed the development of the National Center for STEM Elementary Education to improve teacher effectiveness, advance student performance, strengthen STEM literacy and increase individual candidate appeal in competitive job markets.
Providing a central focus for STEM initiatives at the University, the Center has four areas of emphasis: teaching, research, curriculum and materials, and consulting and outreach for schools, school districts and community-based education providers.
The Center is leading the march toward STEM literacy for elementary teachers. We are the first institution of higher education in the country to:
- Require all elementary education majors complete a STEM certificate program to receive a teaching license
- Develop an engineering course specifically for elementary education majors
- Integrate STEM curricula into a Professional Development School (PDS) model, known as EcoSTARS, for all elementary education majors
- Offer a STEM minor as a course of study open to any undergraduate student
- Use a co-teaching approach – pairing education professors and professors from STEM fields to develop and deliver integrated curricula
We are also playing a leading role in developing graduate-level STEM certificate programs so elementary teachers in the field can upgrade their STEM understanding and skills.
Faculty and staff at the Center are developing research models to:
- Test the efficacy of STEM certificates in achieving STEM literacy for elementary teachers
- Evaluate the impact on K-6 students’ learning and understanding of STEM
- Replicate STEM certificate programs at other institutions of higher education
- Evaluate societal attitudes toward STEM, including those of parents, teachers and STEM professionals
- Publish research and other articles in journals accessed by higher education faculty, K-6 school administrators, state and federal departments of education
Curriculum and Materials
- Create curriculum guides for STEM certificate programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels
- Develop instructional materials for replicating the STEM minor at other institutions of higher education
- Offer Mechanical Engineering Basics (ME Robots) curriculum to school districts and community-based education providers, such as the Girl Scouts
- Develop online curriculum materials
Consulting and Outreach
The Center is committed to furthering best-practice models in STEM education to include:
- Work with schools and school districts to design STEM curricula
- Work with institutions of higher education to replicate STEM certificate programs
- Work with elementary teachers and specialists to integrate STEM curricula into their teaching to meet state standards