THIBODAUX, La. — Three Nicholls State University professors will provide professional development to local K-12 STEM teachers, thanks to a new grant.
The $19,900 grant from the Brown Foundation will fund training for 20 elementary school teachers from the Tri-Parish area. Teacher education assistant professors Drs. Aimee Hollander and Ke Wang wrote the grant. Dr. Hollander is also the director of the Nicholls Center for Teaching Excellence.
The goal, said Dr. Hollander, is to help teachers better prepare their students for standardized testing in math and science.
“This will benefit area elementary teachers in that they will have a better understanding of how to assess both math and science,” she said. “They will also be able to create assessments that will help students prepare for upcoming LEAP exams.”
Drs. Hollander and Wang developed the training after meeting with local STEM coordinators. Those coordinators wanted their curriculum to better align with LEAP exams.
The 2-day professional development will take place June 24-25 and split math and science teachers into two groups. They will rejoin in some sections for educational technology training with Dr. Sara Dempster.
There are special demands on STEM teachers in an online or hybrid environment, Dr. Wang said. STEM coordinators noted that many teachers were unprepared for those challenges when the pandemic began.
“This professional development will improve elementary STEM teachers’ self-efficacy in assessment,” Dr. Wang said. “As a result, this will increase the possibility of students’ success in LEAP tests.”
Named for New Orleans philanthropists Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown, the Brown Foundation is a charitable organization with a special interest in the Greater New Orleans area. The nonprofit offers grants and supports initiatives that align with its stated mission to help end human suffering. They break their support down into several categories, including education.