FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 21, 2014
FAIRFAX, VA – On Wednesday, the Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement (VISTA) announced its inclusion into Change the Equation (CTEq’s) prestigious national STEMworks database. President Obama announced the launch of CTEq in 2010 to increase involvement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and to meet a critical need for a U.S. workforce and citizenry fluent in science and math.
The database is a leading resource for CTEq’s Fortune 500 companies and business leaders who are looking to collaborate with programs that meet a high bar of effectiveness in advancing young people’s learning in STEM subjects.
CTEq’s database has helped its more than 100 Fortune 500 companies, from Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. to Facebook, to connect and align their philanthropic and advocacy efforts to improve PreK-12 learning, especially for girls and students of color who have traditionally been underrepresented in STEM fields. With its admission to the CTEq database, VISTA joins an elite group of STEM education projects targeted for support.
VISTA received CTEq’s highest rating, “Accomplished”, in all ten categories of the CTEq criteria, which emphasize challenging and relevant content as well as capability to inspire students of all abilities and socioeconomic backgrounds. VISTA, led by George Mason University in collaboration with the College of William & Mary, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Virginia Tech, and with support from the University of Virginia, James Madison University and Oregon State University, is helping to shift science instruction in grades K – 12 from a teacher-centered, worksheet-driven approach toward one focused on hands-on, problem based learning that empowers teachers to engage students.
VISTA provides K-12 science support through four activities: the Elementary Science Institute, two Secondary Teacher Program teaching methods courses, the New Science Coordinator Academy, and the Science Education Faculty Academy. So far, VISTA participants have influenced more than 625,000 K-12 students statewide. Over 350 teachers from more than 125 schools representing 80+ Virginia school districts have received VISTA’s professional development.
Programs admitted to the STEMworks database must clear a high bar. An independent non-profit organization rigorously reviewed all of the programs that applied against CTEq's Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy. Only programs that performed well against these strict requirements were admitted.
Last week, VISTA Principal Investigator Dr. Donna Sterling attended CTEq’s National STEM Summit outside of Washington, DC – an event to recognize CTEq’s member companies’ commitment to improving STEM learning and their position as key stakeholders in the future of America’s workforce. Vice President Joe Biden presented the keynote speech for the summit.
“We are honored to partner with Change the Equation to promote our innovative professional development programs, which are improving the way students learn science in Virginia and setting a standard for the nation,” Sterling said.
VISTA is funded by a five-year, $34 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education through the Investing in Innovation (i3) program, which includes a $5.7 million private sector matching requirement. Oregon State University directs the independent evaluation of the VISTA program.
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The contents of this document were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Investing in Innovation (i3) Program. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal government