Leading Schools to Excellence
The Center for Educational Improvement (CEI) researches the most effective ways to infuse 21st century science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curricula and strategies into classrooms, schools, and school districts. We realize that:
- The arts are a great learning tool that can serve as an on-ramp to STEM for underrepresented students, turning STEM into STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) with a focus on integrating art and design into STEM curricula.
- To maintain its global competitiveness, the United States must improve the math and science proficiency of students who graduate from U.S. high schools—regardless of where they live and the schools they attend. Currently, too few American students are pursuing STEM fields.
- Not enough teachers are skilled in teaching STEM subjects—requiring more teachers, per the President’s “Education to Innovate” initiative, and better STEM curricula and strategies in the hands of existing ones.
With these challenges in mind, CEI identifies and shares the latest research in STEM teaching and learning as well as spotlights exemplary STEM practices being implemented in schools across the country. In conjunction with leaders in education and industry, CEI builds on our vision of 21st century innovations to design and conduct research studies advancing student knowledge and skills in STEM areas. Whether it is strategies for identifying practical solutions through learning to think as engineers or for applying strategies to improve math proficiency, CEI networks with principals and other educational leaders to create pathways to excellence.
CEI facilitates STEM solutions by identifying creative and cost-effective models for partnering with local STEM professionals (both “white collar” like scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and information technology professionals and “blue collar” like farmers, fishermen, forestry workers, and construction workers), businesses, and nonprofits to enrich STEM education. The Community Science Workshop, shown in the news video below (often following an ad), is such an example.
CEI’s approach to STEM and STEM research is integrated into other CEI’s other research areas: rigor in the classroom, neuroscience, and Heart Centered Education (our signature approach to social emotional learning focusing on compassion, courage, confidence, consciousness, and community). The approach includes:
- Using music, art, and technology to fast track STEM achievement
- Considering the STEM skills that will be needed in the future and how to modify and adapt curricula to address these needs
- Identifying STEM best practices from other countries that result in STEM achievement despite funding shortages and socio-cultural, geographic, and other demographic differences
- Identifying instructional shifts that result in higher-order thinking skills, deep understanding, problem-solving abilities, engineering mindsets, and metacognition
- Integrating opportunities for students to consider the world around them and try to make sense of it “hands on”: touching, tasting, building, dismantling, creating, discovering, and exploring
- Exploring how to efficiently increase teacher STEM knowledge and skills and the capability of schools to increase academic skills in science and math
- Researching and promoting innovative technologies
- Increasing the number of women and minorities excelling in STEM