Central College News

Central Education Program to Offer New STEM Endorsements, Project Lead the Way Training

Featured: Central Education Program to Offer New STEM Endorsements, Project Lead the Way Training

December 2, 2021

Central’s education program is now one of eight institutions in the state of Iowa to offer STEM endorsements for students majoring in elementary education and secondary education.

The endorsements will benefit Central students seeking jobs teaching K-8 mathematics, K-8 science and middle school math and science.

“The goal of our STEM endorsement is to help train educators with the breadth and depth of knowledge within and across science, technology, engineering and mathematics so they can teach in integrated STEM environments,” says Melissa McAninch, Central’s associate professor of education. “This complements our integrated STEM curriculum, which helps Central students learn to teach in a project-based environment.”

According to Iowa STEM Council, the demand for careers in STEM will increase 60% over the next 10 years.

“We want to make sure Central College is doing its part to educate our students to become STEM teachers if the demand is going to increase,” McAninch adds.

Additionally, Central has become a pre-service partner with Project Lead the Way, which provides the ability for the education program to provide pre-service teachers with a PLTW teacher credential, resources and support for the PreK-5 Launch curriculum. PLTW curriculum offers transformative learning experiences for students by creating an engaging, hands-on classroom environment that empowers students to develop in-demand knowledge and skills they need to thrive.

Project Lead the Way Launch training complements science and technology courses offered at Central, including the new STEM endorsement. The education program is in the process of developing new courses for these STEM endorsements.

“Having these endorsement and training opportunities will make Central students more marketable,” says Amanda Clark, assistant professor of education at Central. “The state already has specific endorsement requirements in place, so this will take Central’s education students to the next level.”

The first round of Project Lead the Way Launch pre-service training took place in October. STEM endorsement programming will begin in the 2022-23 academic year.