UCLA Center X Launches New STEM+C3 Teacher Residency Program

U.S. Department of Education grant will fuel effort to develop highly skilled STEM and computer science teachers for underserved schools.

Building on the learning and success of its IMPACT Urban Teacher Residency program, UCLA Center X is launching UCLA STEM+C3  — a new teacher residency initiative to prepare teachers to transform STEM  and Computer Science education in historically underserved urban schools serving students from low income communities. 

With the support of a nearly $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education through the federal Teacher Quality Partnership program, the new effort will provide training and support for48 pre-service teachers and 16 – 20 in-service STEM and Computer Science teachers.  The new teacher residency program aims to strengthen teaching and learning in STEM and computer science for more than 8,000 students.  

“Our goal is to recruit, prepare, and retain highly qualified secondary STEM teachers and mentor teachers who will be able to transform the STEM learning experience in underserved schools in ways that are academically rich and authentically connected to students’ interests and lives.” says Annamarie Francois, Executive Director of UCLA Center X. 

“STEM+C3  will help teachers develop the confidence, competence, and capacity to deliver accessible, rigorous, high quality STEM instruction that meets the needs of culturally, linguistically, and neurodiverse learners. Too often, these learners have had limited access to the robust math and science learning necessary for them to succeed in a highly technological society.  Our hope is that STEM+C3 closes the STEM opportunity gap and enables a more diverse generation of STEM innovators.“

Through a collaborative partnership between UCLA Center X, Centinela Valley Union High School District and the Alliance for California Computing Education for Students (ACCESS), STEM+C3  will engage teachers in a 16 month program leading to a California Preliminary Teaching Credential (in Math or Science), Computer Science Supplemental Authorization and Masters in Education.  The program will prepare educators for highly skilled teaching in STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics — while integrating C+3 — computational thinking practices, computer science principles and community of practice. 

The project partners will  design a robust and replicable STEM+C3 teacher education curriculum and  provide professional learning around computational thinking and computer science novice/pre-service STEM teachers.  The effort will also provide mentor support and professional learning for mentor/in-service STEM and Computer Science teachers.

Building on the UCLA IMPACT Urban Teacher Residency model, participating pre service teachers will engage in clinical learning alongside accomplished STEM mentors from the first day of school through the last.  The curriculum will focus on developing teachers’ understanding of how to integrate computational thinking and computer science principles into instruction. Key components of UCLA-developed curricula and professional development resources – Exploring Computer Science (ECS) and Introduction to Data Science (IDS) – will inform the re-designed STEM methods curriculum to deepen pre-service understanding and competence.  The curriculum will also align with the Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core State Standards (Mathematics) and interdisciplinary problem solving. 

By integrating computational thinking practices and computer science principles, and by building a community of practice in a robust and effective STEM teacher residency program, we are creating a sustainable community of teachers with the capacity to advance learning opportunities in STEM and computer science for those students who have gone too long without them,” Francois says.  “It’s a great opportunity for our teachers and students, and it will offer important lessons for our local, state and national colleagues in education.” 

For more information about UCLA’s Center X, visit this link.