DMPS Receives $450,000 STEM Grant

Des Moines Public Schools’ Curriculum Department has received a $450,000 State of Iowa Math/Science Partnership grant for Integration of STEM through Problem-Based Learning. The grant will provide professional development for all of Des Moines’ middle and high school teachers.

The three-year professional development program will consist of a ten-day Summer Institute each year for over 50 teachers. Outcomes of the program include increased STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) content knowledge through collaboration with ISU faculty and staff, skills in inquiry and problem-based learning, skills in designing authentic assessments, skills in utilizing instructional technology as a tool for learning, and implementation of the Iowa Core Curriculum.

Teachers must apply to attend the Summer Institute and participate in a minimum of 110 hours of professional development each year for two years. In addition to Summer Institutes, professional learning strategies will include monthly Professional Learning Communities, Instructional Rounds, and On-line Collaboration that is consistent with the Iowa Professional Development Model in providing ongoing follow-up, coaching, collegial dialogue, and support.

“Problem-based learning is an effective way to engage students in challenging and thought-provoking instruction,” said Crista Carlile, curriculum coordinator. “Because of this extensive professional development experience for their teachers, students will increase their abilities to solve difficult problems and exhibit the kind of thinking that leads to greater student achievement.”