S T E M T E A C H E R S N Y C
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STEMteachersNYC cultivates excellence in STEM teaching and promotes deep understanding and success for students through innovative, teacher-led professional development.
Year At-a-Glance 2023
Webpage views UP 97.19%.
As I thought about STEMteachersNYC and the 11 years since we got started, the more I realized how much better the world is as a result of what we’ve achieved. Hundreds of workshops by teachers, for teachers, about teaching, including the NGSS; dozens of leaders thinking carefully about how to inspire their colleagues and teach them about what they do best in the classroom and offer practical ways to do it; thousands of teachers learning and adapting the tricks of the trade from their peers; hundreds of thousands of students benefiting from what those teachers have learned. This is a tremendous achievement.
But integrated into this history are all the stresses and strains of an educational system trying to do so much for so many and (as a result) falling short so often.
The last 3 years have been particularly difficult, as we are just now becoming aware of how much further from the ideal we have fallen due to the disruptions created by the coronavirus pandemic.
One wonders where teachers get the determination to do better, and to help their students learn even when the necessary organizational supports get weaker and weaker, when the requirements of online learning have allowed large numbers of our most vulnerable students to simply fall through the cracks and disappear. But this is no mystery to us. We know what inspires teachers and what keeps them coming back and fighting hard to keep their students engaged and connected.
Throughout the entire pandemic we have continued to run our workshops; we have added a variety of shorter, lower-profile, low-cost and free events to keep teachers engaged with our community even in the face of ongoing and increasing challenges to the educational system.
We are applying all that we have learned to establish a stronger foundation for teachers and students.
Based on our experience, we are making strategic choices to help lift standards of learning and teaching, and especially to keep our focus on raising the level of teachers throughout the system and not just those teaching students at the top.
As an organization, we are going to do all the things we have learned are necessary for providing absolutely the best possible professional development workshops and the most supportive and stimulating community we can. In particular, we have begun the process of establishing outreach hubs for our programs in each of the five boroughs, to allow for greater exchange of creativity closer to home. We have already obtained some support for this in the form of a foundation grants, and we are determined to expand this substantially over the years.
In 2021-22 we established a valuable and growing collaboration with Brooklyn College and discussions are underway at various stages with a variety of organizations with established footholds in other boroughs.
Our leadership development program continues to prosper – attracting and inspiring a new generation of workshop leaders and providing the new ideas and energy needed to keep our workshops at the cutting edge for the foreseeable future.
The collaborative and innovative spirit continues to burn as strongly as ever among our established leaders and our new ones, and I’m sure you’ll come to see this in our workshops over the next year.
It’s clearer than ever that STEM teachers are going to need what we can deliver: workshops, community, STEM content and pedagogy tightly linked, experience, determination, dedication, inspiration … No surprises there – let’s get on with it!
- Fernand Brunschwig, President
Our Professional Learning Community developed and expanded in some interesting ways over the past year. In addition to our traditional workshop format (largely online but a few in person), we offered think tanks, round tables, working groups, expanded leader training, and more. In Fall 2021, we offered 22 workshops and programs attended by 225 participants. Among the new workshops were Physics with Phones, in partnership with Lawrence Livermore Lab, using smartphone apps as measurement tools in experiments; and Intro to Biotechnology, in partnership with the DNA Learning Center, which allowed us to test out the hybrid format.
In Spring 2022, we offered 57 events including 17 workshops. Other events included the ongoing Equity Lab and Physics working group meetings, workshops with partners (DataWise; STEM in the City), or as funded projects (STEM in Parks; Quantum Physics Outreach Program). Registration increased by more than 50% over the previous spring.
Our Summer STEM Institute 2022, which concluded on August 15, 2022, saw 10 workshops in varying formats, ranging from two days on-line to two weeks in person. A mix of workshops we have offered in previous years and new summer workshops drew a registration of 222 teachers. For example, we returned to our roots with a hands-on, in-person two-week models- based high school physics workshop, which had not been part of our offering for several years. And we continued with the highly-popular Standards-Based Grading workshop, now with introductory and advanced sections. In the middle of the summer, we hosted a MidSummer STEM Trivia Night as a way to bring our community back together and forge relationships beyond the Zoom screen.
The Community Learning Network
In 2021-2022 we are reconceptualizing our professional learning spaces through a Network of STEM teacher Professional Learning Community- Partner Hubs. The goal is to leverage all we learned last year, and combine this with the best of our peer- driven professional learning strategies, in a new kind of space. Our PLC-Partner STEM Hubs will become centers for place-based partnership, teacher-team curriculum collaborations, grade and subject focused working groups, and new scholarship. Non-profit partners benefit from long term relationships with local teachers and schools. Local institutes of higher education benefit from real time feedback from alumni and the larger STEM teaching community.
Connection of professional learning to schools,
teachers and school communities will need a better and tighter feedback loop. We must:
Knit together the strengths of our communities, and the strengths of communities of practice, to strengthen relevant new teacher learning.
Tighten the feedback loops between PD and degree programs, and teacher practice by creating new spaces for teachers to lead the way forward in responsive PL.
Leverage hybrid teaching and learning experience to better engage, connect and nurture our STEM teachers.
Bring together the STEMteachersNYC PLC model and the extensive expertise of PL by providing Partners to create unique centers for innovation in teacher learning.
We believe that new teachers can be set up for success in their first years by inviting them into the professional community before their first day in the classroom. Community Learning Hubs of the Network will be the conduits for pre-service and new teachers to gain insight into the realities of the classroom through the eyes of seasoned teachers with diverse experiences and strategies. STEMteachersNYC facilitates the community that nurtures teachers throughout their careers – and through the Pre-Service Project , as their careers begin. Our network of practicing teachers offers real-world understanding, support, strategies and the practical solutions needed to succeed and thrive as a new teacher. Working with Brooklyn College faculty to align workshop content relevant to their courses, STEMteachersNYC will offer our virtual, hybrid and in-person professional development workshops FREE to Graduate and Undergraduate Pre-service teachers.
In 2021-2022 we saw interest from 65 pre-service teachers, with 34 attending our workshops for free, and two attending curated collections of our workshops for course credit through Brooklyn College.
What is it like to be part of our Pre-Service Program?
“It was great being able to meet and talk with experienced teachers who are so open about sharing their advice and challenges with one another and motivate each other through the journey. As a pre-service teacher, I didn’t know what to expect from this career and was having many doubts and unanswered questions, but the workshop introduced me to many realistic and effective classroom practices. Not only that, it taught me how to think like a student once again through hands-on activities that promote inquiry-based learning and critical thinking while being very engaging.”
… we examined a biodiversity lab which prompted students to look at different species of plants and examine them phenotypically and genotypically through various means like paper chromatography, microscopy, enzyme activity tests, and also through gel electrophoresis.
Not only did the students get to watch teacher demonstrations, but they got to design their very own DIY gel electrophoresis kit and test it out with plant DNA. Overall, this workshop experience was mind-opening and very educational about students’ needs and how we as teachers can bring ongoing critical discussions and hands-on practices to further aid their understanding of the world around us.”
– Pre-Service Teacher/Student at Brooklyn College
For all teachers. By all teachers.
About teaching that meets every student’s needs.
Our Equity Lab team of leaders continued to strengthen its mission and work. This past year we revamped our mission statement, created a new Multilingual Learners & STEM roundtable in partnership with the Institute for Latin American Studies at Columbia University, grew our Angles on Responsive STEM Speaker Series, and developed strategies for the future of the group and the work. We believe that equity work begins with us, as individuals who are willing to challenge all forms of discrimination and oppression. We are driven by the ideal of equity for all, and compelled by a love for humanity.
The complexity of equity work requires nuanced and dynamic, responsive forms depending on the current needs of our community. We see learning as a dynamic process. Equity Lab strives to align pedagogical practices with our guiding principles; questioning, research, observation, experimentation, and critical consciousness. We explore multiple ways of knowing and thinking, and we recognize STEM as fields of global, indigenous, and universal study.
STNYC Curriculum Consulting offers one-on-one support tailored to the needs of individual teachers and their classroom contexts. Curriculum coaching for individual teachers involves an initial diagnostic meeting to characterize content, material and curricular needs, the teacher will receive a summary and action plan. Once that action plan and goals have been agreed upon, meetings can be scheduled once per week, bi-weekly, or monthly, depending on need and availability. Our coaching work this year will continue and expand in the next, with a coaching-style chemistry working group, and an expanded relationship with PS244Q and their STEM teachers.
Hrs of coaching
The STEMteachersNYC Teacher-Leader Pathway actively supports K12 STEM teachers in bringing their effective teaching practice and personal creativity to colleagues and their students. Through a process of mentorship, workshop case study, team planning, and co-facilitation, new teacher-leaders develop workshops based on what is working in their classrooms.
Our annual spring 2022 Leader Huddle discussions centered around the change process and led leaders to be more intentional in thinking about and capturing participants’ experiences and thinking not just pre, and post-workshop, but also during the workshop – to ensure that professional development needs are met. We talked about how mid-workshop check-ins inform further improvement of current workshops, as well as development of new ones.
More importantly, improving feedback loops with our alumni can also help us keep track of and provide continuous support for our workshop alumni and help them through their change journey. As a result of this year’s huddles, leaders reviewed and adjusted their workshops to include more opportunities to not just gather but document participant thinking.
REFLECTIONS FROM OUR LEADERS
“The leader huddles helped me in a growth area for me. I did more advance planning so in the lead up to the workshop, my thinking was beyond logistics and more high level design thinking. The huddles were dynamic and I saw how others continued to refine the workshop so that each aspect was more intentional. They were happy with previous efforts but not satisfied. I made a major change to my workshop structure and I think it allowed the collaboration later in the week to be more fruitful.” Jason Sullivan
“The leadership huddles were amazing for me this year. [The meetings] covered the idea of “Planning to be flexible” – finding the balance of being structured while not rigid. Along the way we told and listened to stories of each other’s growth. For me, this really demystified the process of becoming an expert teacher. It was empowering to hear everyone open up… and cathartic to feel we are all in this together. Additionally, I felt like I got to ask the other leaders in the room every question I have wanted to ask since I started coming to STEMteachersNYC.” – Glen Stuart
Teacher leaders who develop and facilitate workshops continue to do so voluntarily and continue to grow professionally as they engage with workshop participants not just as leaders but as peers. They also help the organization grow by participating in leader huddles as well as various program committees. We see our support for new teacher leaders as an essential piece of our continued growth as an organization.
DataWise K12 is an ongoing collaboration with the New York Hall of Science. An extension of their NSF funded DS4All work, we brought together teachers and data tool developers around their Concepts, Practices and Perspectives framework, to dig in to what really happens and what works in classrooms, and being to move beyond standards and lesson plans, and peel back the layers of progressions in data literacy across grades.
In 2021-2022, we ran four DataWise K-12 roundtables, focused on showcasing current classroom practice and easily accessible tools, to dig deeper into the DS4All framework, and fill in the gaps between standards, curricula, and student learning experiences. In the coming school year these meetings will continue, with a modified format that will allow for more teachers to contribute to the elucidation of K12 data literacy learning progress.
Multilingual Learners & STEM Roundtable
We were a small group of teachers, researchers, and K12 Program coordinators who came together to plant the seed of new collaboration. How do research, resources, policy and practice intersectto support our MLL learners and their
“Gave teachers means to deeply understand new practices and promote understanding and success for students.”
teachers? In 2021-22 we met three times.
Our intention for this series of semi-formal meetings is to bring together all those who contribute to and shape the STEM learning experiences of our multilingual learners – to share ideas, challenges and successes across fields that usually only intersect through the lived experiences of the students.
In partnership with the K-12 Outreach Office of The Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) at Columbia University.
Computational Thinking is a cross curricular language of problem solving. STEMteachersNYC was contracted by Cornell Tech to develop and deliver workshops on Computational Thinking in the Elementary Classroom (CTEC) to a larger audience of teachers. With funding from The Robin Hood Foundation, Cornell’s team developed student tasks that promote Computational Thinking and tested them in one school. This summer we ran our fourth cohort of CTEC to introduce teachers to this set of student tasks, expanding the reach of this approach to 50 schools. Integrating Computational Thinking and STEM fits well with our broader approach to enhancing cognitive engagement in the classroom through enhancing guided, semi-guided, and independent discourse among students.
Wildlife, stewardship, restoration, resilience! STEM in Parks (SPARKS) is a unique opportunity for teachers to collaborate in small local teams with research scientists and education staff at NYC Department of Parks. Participants learn how to use a local park as an outdoor lab and how to help students and colleagues connect to, understand, and care for local ecosystems.
With the twin goals of engaging students in the dynamic research taking place in their local parks and of bringing the STEM in Parks into classrooms, we brought four teams of teachers from across all boroughs and from K-12 public and independent schools together with scientists from across NYC Department of Parks divisions, to collaborate on diverse ways of integrating the highly place-based work of NYC Parks with K-12 STEM teaching and learning. The SPARKS collaboration now moves into its third cycle
for the 2022-2023 school year! “Students got to see in real life what they were
studying and they really enjoyed the ability to do field work with people in that area of study. It legitimized their work and ideas.”
“Great personalized PD!”
STEM in the City Series
In January we sent out a call to fellow Network members looking for potential partners to support STEM teachers in gathering again in person, at semi-formal events around the city. We had SEVEN organizations give and enthusiastic YES! From February to June, together we reached four of five boroughs, had 103 teachers register and 65 attend. Goals were to engage teachers in the STEM in their backyard – with the aim of creating fun, stress-free experiences, while making new relationships between teachers, schools and organizations. Many thanks to… Genspace, The GIANT Room, SkillMillNYC, The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, NYC Parks Dept & Greenbelt Native Plant Center, NYC Parks Dept at Cunningham Park, and The League of Young Inventors.
The majority of formative evaluation work within the organization has been focused on its Summer Institute workshops, and what we have learned from documenting and taking stock of at least three years’ worth of data is that year after year, STEMteachersNYC continues to provide relevant, effective, and well-organized professional development experiences to hundreds of STEM teachers, not just in NYC, but across the US and internationally. Workshop alumni have consistently reported gaining new knowledge, teaching strategies, and classroom-ready materials, as well as a network of teacher peers they can reach out to as needed.
Earlier evaluation efforts demonstrated that the strategies used by STEMteachersNYC teacher leaders are not only consistent with best practices in the field but are highly valued by workshop alumni. In early 2020, while restructuring our workshops for the
virtual space in response to the COVID pandemic, we codified what our leaders informally called “non- negotiable strategies” into a Framework for Teacher- Led Professional Development.
Through our 2020 evaluation, we learned from our participants that our teacher leaders were able to successfully leverage technology in carrying over this framework to the virtual space.
Whether in-person or online, workshop alumni identified peer discussions and collaboration, as well as shared examples of experiences, resources, and tools by workshop leaders and participants alike, as the most helpful strategies. Findings from our latest evaluation (2021) show that as in the past two years, STEMteachersNYC workshops effectively attend to teachers’ professional development needs.
We looked at our 2021 data through the lens of the teacher change process. We found that workshop participants value reflective activities that allow them to think about their practice, serving as a springboard to changes in pedagogical beliefs. Current literature contends that beliefs are the hardest to change because they challenge teachers’ core values; yet our findings show that 75 percent of our respondent participants have altered pedagogical beliefs (as a result of attending our workshops). Noteworthy are the findings around changes in beliefs rooted in equity, which not only speak to our workshop leaders’ expertise in facilitating critical discussions, but to the inspirational examples and experiences they share with their peers in grounding teaching practice in equitable and culturally responsive ways.
Our findings also suggest that within a year of attending STEMteachersNYC workshops, our alumni go through (at least) two of the three phases of the teacher change process: (1) initiation or adoption, where teachers decide to adopt or continue with a change, and (2) implementation, the first experience of putting learnings into action.
Some teachers are applying their learnings independently, while some have turn-keyed the workshop learnings and are applying them department-wide. These are positive indications that our leaders are successful in inspiring teachers to not just implement workshop gains in their classrooms, but also to advocate for change in their organizations.
These findings serve as evidence of what the organization’s leaders and members have believed in since its founding 11 years ago – that teachers learn best from other teachers who are willing to share their personal experiences and expertise in intentional, sustained, and collaborative ways.
STEMteachersNYC’s current culture and programmatic activities remain deeply rooted in this belief.
In last years’ Annual Report (2020-2021), STEMteachersNYC president Fernand Brunschwig noted: “We have created the still barely visible outlines of what experts have for years been saying we need: a comprehensive, end-to-end system for supporting and developing teachers throughout their careers.” This year’s evaluation focus on the teacher change process is a microcosm of this envisioned larger system that encompasses pre-service to in-service professional development.
There is no question that STEMteachersNYC workshops are successful in facilitating changes in both teachers’ beliefs and their practices, and especially in inspiring teachers to start implementing learnings in their classrooms. Our challenge going forward is how we can help teachers – whether they be new or experienced – through the third and final step of the change process: sustaining the practices they learn.
In 2022 we welcomed 30 Teacher Scholars into our Summer STEM Institute thanks to The Wanninkhof Family. Here were their plans for the summer:
I would like to incorporate more STEM based curriculum and projects in all the classes I teach. I would also like to connect with other STEM professionals to collaborate year-round.
“I am currently planning on being the new STEAM teacher in my school next year. I have been teaching at title 1 schools for the past 11 years as a special education teacher. Attending these workshops would be the perfect way to transition into my own STEAM classroom! I want to make sure to give the students in my school (and myself) a strong start to the school year!”
I am in the process of trying to create a more student driven, self paced and mastery based classroom setting.
My professional goal for the summer is to increase my knowledge of STEM curriculum to support writing at least 2 interdisciplinary STEM focused units for the 2022-2023 school year. As an instructional coach, I consistently share my knowledge with the entire school body. Engaging with the STEM community is the best way to learn and to give back by sharing your knowledge
Teaching a chemistry course that is successful in tuning into students’ thinking takes practice. I want to spend this summer honing in on questioning strategies to trigger higher thinking in my students and guide them to the learning target for each class… I really want to learn how to scaffold my students up to the level of thinking required to work and think independently.
Program Service Income
Contributions & Grants
General & Admin $40.5K
$25,000 and Above John Brown Cook Foundation The Jaffe Family Foundation
Siegel Family Endowment Valentine Perry Snyder Fund
Con Edison Company of New York Jennifer Herring and Fernand Brunschwig Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust
Bella Gemma Fund The Wanninkhof Family
Kyle Clayton Ray Eason Google
Douglas McKenzie Efrem Sigel Darren Sumter Donghong Sun
Bridgewater Advisors Jane Geever
Leo Marzen LinkedIn
Richard and Lois Pace Ann Thibodeau Christine Vernier
Vernier Software and Technology
Patricia Bauer The Buitrago Family
Craig Buszka Kendall Houk Deirdre Malacrea
Beverly Benz Treuille
Dixie Ching Grant Cox
Linda Cox and John Robinson Juliette Guarino-Berg
Pamela Wong Michael Zitolo
William Solodow Cheryl Austin Maggie Bradley Margaret Joy Cytryn Peter Davenport Ashley Dean
Joan Downs Richard Ellsworth
Margaret Cortese Elmquist David Evans
Kristien Fernandez-Everett Paul Feffer
R. Horowitz-Prisco Marilyn Hoyt and Dan
Jason Klein Kerry Kline Deborah Lynn
Leo Model Foundation Patricia Park Allan Powe
Kathy Renfrew Paul Rickel
J. Mark Schober Howard Spergel William Solodow Michael Thomas
Dennis Weiss Megan Zacks Alan Zollner
Stem Teachers of New York City, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Kyle Clayton- (Ribbon, NY, NY), Chair
Seth Guiñals-Kupperman (Brooklyn Latin School, Brooklyn, NY), Vice-Chair Kerry Kline (Packer Collegiate, Brooklyn, NY) Vice-Chair
Craig Buszka (Montgomery High School, Skillman, NJ), Treasurer Juliette Guarino Berg (Blue School, NY, NY) Secretary
Patricia Bauer (Marymount School, NY, NY), Chair, Nominating Committee Ray Eason, Jr., (JP Morgan, NY, NY) Chair, Finance Committee
Elissa Levy (High School for Climate Justice, NY, NY) Kate Macaulay (Hunter College Elementary School, NY, NY)
Allan Powe (Hyde Leadership Charter School, Bronx, NY) Howard Spergel (Midwood High School, Brooklyn, NY) Darren Sumter (LinkedIn, NY, NY)
Donghong Sun (Tandon School of Engineering, NYU, NY, NY) Ann Thibodeau (Bridgewater Advisors, NY, NY)
Fernand Brunschwig, President Yadana Desmond, Executive Director
Jennifer Herring, Vice-President for Development
Yi Li, Assistant Treasurer and Youth Programs Manager Philip Jackman, Marketing Manager
Chris Kennedy, Outreach Coordinator Jenna Peet, Pre-Service Coordinator Jacqueline Gaston, Evaluation Consultant
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