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Dr. Jonathan P. Keener
Director, STEM Programs
325 West Gaines Street, Suite 432
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400


Phone: 850-245-0808

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education

The Bureau of Standards and Instructional Support works collaboratively with the Division of Career and Technical Education (CTE) and the Bureau of School Improvement (BSI) to define research-based state education policy and programs for the state of Florida and increase student knowledge and performance in STEM related content areas.

What Constitutes a STEM Program of Study?

A Guide for Florida's Public Schools (PDF, 118KB)

The acronym STEM is fairly specific in nature referring to science, technology, engineering and mathematics; however, the concept of STEM encompasses much more than the sum of its parts. Workers in STEM occupations use science and math to solve problems and drive our nation's innovation and competitiveness by generating new ideas, new companies and new industries. STEM programs of study are typically classified based upon four occupational clusters: computer technology; mathematical sciences; engineering and surveying; and natural, physical and life sciences. STEM programs in Florida's Public Schools must embrace the integration of technology and engineering in science and mathematics.

Standards

Mathematics Florida Standards were approved by the Florida State Board of Education on February 18, 2014. In response to public concerns about these standards, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) in the Fall of 2013 opened three channels for the public to provide input to policy makers. First, three public meetings were held throughout the state at which attendees had the opportunity to communicate support for the standards as well as concerns about the standards. Second, a website was posted that presented information about the new standards, links to the proposed standards, transcripts of the public meetings, and other resources. A form was provided on the website for public input. Third, an email address was created for individuals to send their comments directly to the FDOE. Based on the results of the public comment, in January of 2014, the Department recommended that changes be made to the original Common Core State Standards adopted in July 2010. These standards are to be fully implemented in the 2014-15 school year and thereafter.

The Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for Science were adopted by the Florida State Board of Education in February 2008.

Assessments

On March 17, 2014, Commissioner Stewart announced the selection of the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to develop, administer, score, and report assessments that are aligned to Florida's standards in English language arts/literacy and mathematics beginning in 2014-15.

The new statewide assessments will be ELA Assessments for Grades 3-11, Mathematics Assessments for Grades 3-8, an Algebra 1 Assessment, a Geometry Assessment, and an Algebra 2 Assessment. The current FCAT 2.0 Science Grade 5, FCAT 2.0 Science Grade 8, Biology EOC Assessment, Civics EOC Assessment, and US History EOC Assessment will remain.

More related information, as well as the memorandum and detailed timeline for the release of assessment resources (PDF).

Frameworks

Florida is taking a systematic approach to identifying "STEM" career and technical education programs based on STEM occupations. Programs that lead directly to STEM occupations or are included in a career path that leads to a STEM occupation identified through national and state research and labor market information have been identified at http://www.fldoe.org/workforce/dwdframe/stem_cluster_frame11.asp. As further research is completed, this list continues to evolve. Programs that meet the Race to the Top criteria for STEM programs are included on this list and are annotated as such.

Florida Center for Research in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (FCR-STEM) - Mathematics Formative Assessment System (MFAS)

MFAS includes tasks that teachers can implement with their students and rubrics that help the teacher interpret students' responses. Teachers using MFAS ask students to perform mathematical tasks, explain their reasoning, and justify their solutions. Rubrics for interpreting and evaluating student responses are included so that teachers can differentiate instruction based on students' strategies instead of relying solely on correct or incorrect answers. The objective is to understand student thinking so that teaching can be adapted to improve student achievement of mathematical goals related to the standards. Like all formative assessment, MFAS is a process rather than a test. Research suggests that well-designed and implemented formative assessment is an effective strategy for enhancing student learning. This system is available on CPALMS to all stakeholders in Florida, including teachers, parents and students, at no cost. Approximately 1300 tasks and rubrics are currently available for kindergarten through grade 8, Algebra 1, and geometry. Please visit CPALMS Mathematics Formative Assessment System (MFAS) for a list of available and under development components. This project will continue to be under development and revision of certain components during the 2014-2015 school year. FCR-STEM will continue to support school and district staff in the implementation of MFAS and are willing to provide free training. Request a training program.

Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) Grants

The Mathematics and Science Partnerships (MSP) Program is intended to increase the academic achievement of students in mathematics and science by enhancing the content knowledge and teaching skills of classroom teachers through partnerships between high-need school districts and the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) faculty in institutions of higher education. Other partners may include state education agencies, public charter schools or other public schools, businesses, and nonprofit or for-profit organizations concerned with mathematics and science education. ). MSP programs focus on the following priorities:
  • The education of STEM teachers as a career-long process through lesson study;
  • Bringing STEM teachers together with scientists, mathematicians, and engineers to improve their content knowledge and teaching skills; and
  • Developing more rigorous STEM curricula that are aligned to Florida's standards for mathematics through integration and application of STEM concepts and skills.

For more information on the MSP program, go to the U.S. Department of Education's MSP program webpage.

HB7031 Webinar

The Department offered a webinar that provided an overview of the statutory revisions regarding Academically Challenging Curriculum to Enhance Learning (ACCEL) options, middle grades progression, high school graduation requirements, student assessment, and other academic/career advisement updates to help prepare for the 2014-2015 school year.

FloridaLearns STEM Scholars (FLSS)

Recognizing the need for small and rural districts to enhance STEM curricula for gifted and talented secondary students, the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium (PAEC), in partnership with the Heartland Educational Consortium (HEC), and the North East Florida Educational Consortium (NEFEC) will implement the FloridaLearns STEM Scholars (FLSS) program. This program includes innovation to make more rigorous STEM courses available, STEM Summer Challenges led by university staff and STEM professionals, increased opportunities for real-world STEM problem-solving and research, and academic and career guidance from qualified counselors. The program will also enhance educators' ability to provide instruction addressing specific learning needs and building on the strengths of each student. This initiative will enable nearly one thousand participating students to make informed career choices and create a framework to increase the likelihood of their success in post-secondary STEM curricula or in the workplace. Two significant by-products are the collaboration of students from across the state and the networks fostered among business, post-secondary, agency, military and education professionals.

STEM Showcase

STEM Tips

Teaming with the Florida Department of Education, the University of Florida has created STEM Teacher Induction and Professional Support (STEM TIPS), an innovative, web-based mentoring support system for novice science and mathematics teachers. The aim is to boost retention and accelerate the professional growth of beginning teachers during their critical first years on the job.

By providing induction leaders with a virtual platform to network and support face-to-face coaches, blended coaching through STEM TIPS reduces the complications that distance and time present for quality mentoring.

This cutting-edge, mobile-ready platform gives coaches the ability to give immediate and customized mentoring through multiple tiers of web-based support, focused on boosting teacher practice and student achievement including:

  • an online community of practice coupled with 24/7 access to classroom-tested resources
  • access to customized collaboration networks
  • confidential coaching panel with remote video observation capabilities
  • synchronous chat rooms with video conferencing, collaborative documents, and document upload

The STEM TIPS platform and services are the end-product of a $2.3 million FDOE grant, 2-year project to develop a prototype online induction model to support Florida's districts in developing and retaining new STEM teachers. We are in the final phases of our pilot implementation with over 1,000 registered teachers from our four partner districts/consortium (Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Duval, and the Northeast Florida Educational Consortium) and are now ready to offer our platform and services to a broader audience of schools, districts, and higher education institutions.

Contact STEM TIPS for more information on the platform and subscriptions costs.

Sunshine State Scholars

The Sunshine State Scholars program recognizes Florida's top STEM students and introduces them to the vast postsecondary and career opportunities available right here in their home state. The list below is the minimum selection criteria for district scholars as well as an alternate from each district. Districts may establish additional criteria for selection as appropriate.
  • The student has achieved Junior class status and has an interest in pursuing postsecondary education opportunities in Florida.
  • The student has expressed or demonstrated an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) related studies.
  • The student has a weighted Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.9 or higher.
  • Based upon information available at this point in time the student should be on track to qualify for the Florida Academic Scholars Award according to the current guidelines established for the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program.
Florida's top eleventh grade STEM Scholars were honored at a 2-day event held at the Orlando Hilton on February 13-14, 2014. For additional information about the Scholars selected or the entire program, please visit 2014 Sunshine State Scholars (PDF) or contact Mary Lee Kiracofe of the Florida Education Foundation: .

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching are the nation's highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science (including computer science). Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education. The National Science Foundation convenes a national selection committee composed of prominent mathematicians, scientists, mathematics/science educators, district level personnel, and classroom teachers to review the applications of the state finalists and recommends one finalist in mathematics and one finalist in science from each state or jurisdiction. We are pleased to announce Florida's recipients of the 2012 award.

Florida's 2012 Grades K-6 Mathematics Recipient

  • Nancy Bourne from Beacon Cove Intermediate School in Palm Beach County in Jupiter, FL

Florida's 2012 Grades K-6 Science Recipient

  • Barbara Wilcox from Endeavour Elementary School in Brevard County in Cocoa, FL

Both the nomination and application functions have been opened for the 2013-2014 K-6 competition on the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching website.

Florida State University Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (FSU STEM)

FSU STEM offers a variety of Summer Camps for students of all ages.
  • Challenger Learning Center - First- through eighth-graders can attend RoboCamp (robots, Legos & more), Future Flyers (rocket camp), Astronaut Academy, and Zero-G Zone (all about aerospace)
  • Research Experiences for Undergraduates - This 8-week summer internship program matches qualified undergraduate students with scientists and researchers at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory's three sites
  • Saturday-at-the-Sea Summer Day Camp - Invited area high school students develop a research project based on observations made at the FSU Marine Lab during this one-week camp
  • SciGirls Summer Camp - An award-winning, hands-on, two-week summer science camp for 10- to 16-year-old girls
  • Young Scholars Program - High school students conduct advanced study and research in science, mathematics and computer science, and develop an individual research project under the mentorship of an FSU scientist during this 6-week, campus-based program

Websites for STEM Lesson Ideas

PBS Teachers STEM Education Resource Center: PBS offers the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds related to STEM learning through television and online content.

NASA STEM Program: As the United States begins the second century of flight, the Nation must maintain its commitment to excellence in STEM education to ensure that the next generation of Americans can accept the full measure of their roles and responsibilities in shaping the future.

The STEM Education News: The STEM Education News (previously the TCEB or Triangle Coalition Electronic Bulletin) is an e-newsletter featuring articles on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. Articles highlight the latest programs, resources, reports, and other news related to STEM education.

A Framework for K-12 Science Education (National Academies Press): The Framework for K-12 Science Education was released by the National Research Council (NRC) in July 2011. The framework identifies the key scientific ideas and practices all students should learn by the end of high school. The framework is also designed to be useful for curriculum and assessment designers, teacher educators, and others who work in K-12 science education.

Science Math Master (SM2) Model Lessons: Funded by Florida Teacher Quality Grant, the Science Math Master is a professional development program for high school Biology and Geometry teachers composed of face-to-face collaborative training workshops and on-line science and math resources for teachers, including modules, videos, coursework examples, demonstration ideas and curriculum tools.

Science Understanding, Math Mentoring Integrated with Technology (SUMMIT): Funded through the Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) grant from the Florida Department of Education. The SUMMIT website includes lessons that were based on the 5E model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate). The SUMMIT website also provides videos that serve as useful tools for teachers in the classroom.

Safety in the Science Classroom

Florida DEP School Chemical Cleanout Campaign (SC3): includes Inventory Procedures, Chemical Inventory Spreadsheet, Table of Excessive Risk Chemicals, Disposal Guidelines for School Facilities, Identifying Unknown Chemicals in Science Labs, SC3 Basic Training Notebook, and SC3 Instructional Video.

NSTA Safety in the Science Classroom: access to the OSHA Training Requirements and Guidelines for K-14 School Personnel, Tips for the Safer Handling of Microorganisms in the School Science Laboratory, Science Demonstration Videos, and Safety Resources List.

NIOSH School Chemistry Laboratory Safety Guide: access to the safety guide School Science Laboratories: A Guide to Some Hazardous Substances developed by the Council of State Science Supervisors, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The document provides teachers with information to take the appropriate precautionary actions and prevent or minimize hazards, harmful exposures, and injuries in the laboratory.

Contacts

Dr. Jonathan P. Keener
Director, STEM Programs

Deb Willacey
Mathematics Education Program Specialist

Heidi Brennan
K-5 Mathematics and Science Education Program Specialist