Grant Bolsters Institute's Program for STEM Teaching in Indiana High Schools

January 07, 2016Bill Schmitt

A major grant from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education will extend the state’s support for the University of Notre Dame’s innovative development of high school teachers in the STEM disciplines. The $370,972 grant to Notre Dame was announced Jan. 6 for teacher support through the Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program for Indiana (AP-TIP IN), part of the Notre Dame Center for STEM Education in the Institute for Educational Initiatives.

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The AP-TIP IN program, a statewide initiative serving educators and students in participating public high schools, encourages students—including women and minorities—to pursue college-level studies in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), as well as English. Structured collaborations have proven to help students and their teachers sharply increase achievements in College Board Advanced Placement (AP) courses and tests in select subjects.

“AP-TIP IN is pleased to collaborate with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education in implementing its high-quality professional development program and support for AP math, science, and English teachers at 20 Indiana high schools,” said Karen Morris, an Institute for Educational Initiatives fellow who has directed the program since a first cohort of schools piloted it in 2012-2013.

“We look forward to working with AP teachers and supporting them in their classrooms this year,” Morris said.

The 2015-2016 school year is the fourth of five years for which the unique combination of incentives, educator collaboration, and student support has been funded by federal grant money with multi-state oversight established by the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI). This non-profit group of STEM-based corporations, along with other private and public funding sources, developed the AP-based model to help build an American workforce poised for economic strength and technological competitiveness.

Schools in Indiana and elsewhere using this model will need continued funding from a variety of sources after the five-year federal program ends. Last year, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education awarded a $267,000 grant to support AP-TIP IN teacher development, and the Jan. 6 announcement guarantees a second round of this state support.

Three years of AP test-score results from this model of training and incentives have shown significant gains in the college credits earned at participating Indiana high schools. In the latest school year data, more than 2,500 students achieved a score of 3, 4, or 5 on nearly 3,500 College Board AP® math, science, and English tests, thereby becoming eligible for college credits for those courses. Over three years, more than 12,000 students took nearly 18,750 AP tests; about 4,900 of those students earned 7,600 credit-eligible scores.

AP-TIP IN will use the additional funding to sustain its extensive, year-round professional development for Indiana educators, including a distinctive set of conferences and other collaborations. Training programs engage educators to improve the test results of an increasingly diverse pool of students, and incentives multiply pursuits geared toward college and career success.

The new $370,972 grant to Notre Dame is among 13 grants totaling more than $9 million announced by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education to support STEM-related educators. Indiana created a STEM Teacher Recruitment Fund in 2013 to identify organizations and programs as grant recipients.

“These grants are amplifying efforts to recruit and retain educators in a field that’s rapidly changing the jobs of tomorrow in the Hoosier state,” Governor Mike Pence said of the $9.6 million investment in educators with STEM-related skills. ”When it comes to ensuring our young people are on a pathway to success in the workforce or in post-secondary studies, a STEM curriculum is critical. I applaud and congratulate these grant recipients for their efforts in seeing that Indiana is filling teaching positions in this critical, high-need area.”

Contact: Bill Schmitt, Institute for Educational Initiatives, 574-631-3893 and wschmitt@nd.edu