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"STEM" Teacher Education in Virginia

The Noyce STEM Teacher Scholarship grant at JMU is for students pursuing a secondary teaching license (for teaching grades 6-12) with a major in Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science, or Biology. The major you pursue depends on the primary content area you want to teach. We recognize that referring to these programs collectively as "STEM teacher education" can be confusing so we hope to use this space to clarify the difference and overlap between being a "STEM teacher" and being a Science or Mathematics teacher.

STEM is an integrated approach to solving problems, addressing challenges, answering questions, and making new discoveries. STEM Education aims to develop students as critical thinkers who have the tools to understand how STEM shapes and is shaped by society and to better prepare future STEM professionals for success. While there are many frameworks for K-12 STEM Education, they all incorporate the foundations, skills, and ways of thinking in the individual STEM disciplines; how the individual disciplines integrate with one another; and how that integration converges with non-STEM disciplines to address big problems. This is a collaborative effort that cannot happen without effective teachers of science and mathematics!  

JMU students pursuing secondary teaching in a STEM-related field in Virginia will earn their secondary teaching license with an endorsement to teach the subject of their major. Students endorsed in Biology or Earth Science are also certified to teach Environmental Science. Secondary Science and Math students may earn additional endorsements by passing the Praxis exam for that subject. Students who do this tend to have a strong foundation in that subject and/or take additional courses in that content area. Visit the MSME department website for more information. 

While VA does not offer a STEM endorsement for teachers, many VA Public schools provide opportunities for their students to learn and practice STEM. Depending on the school in which you are teaching science or mathematics, you will likely have the opportunity to develop and engage students in STEM experiences. These experiences can be found in one or several class periods, throughout a curriculum, be reflected in the organization of a single course or an entire school, or be encompassed in an out-of-school activity (National Academies, 2014).

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