CLEVELAND, Miss. — The College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Human Sciences at Delta State University recently announced the creation of the Collaborative for Rural STEM Education (CRSE). The program’s mission is to help rural K-12 STEM teachers in the Mississippi Delta region implement inquiry-based activities through a cooperative approach using Delta State facilities and resources such as adaptable curriculums, field stations, and planetarium and laboratory spaces. The program is 100% funded by a $1 million grant from the US Department of Education.
Dr. Ellen Green, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences said, “Our goal is to help our K-12 schools in the Delta with STEM education. This is very much in the mission of Delta State. The intention is to provide resources to teachers so they can give their students authentic lab experiences.”
Green said that the program will provide consumables and equipment to teachers in order to facilitate engaging activities that expose students to STEM concepts as early as possible. “I call it ‘STEM in a box,’” she said. “We will provide schools with professional development events where teachers will come to campus and be trained on these materials. We want the teachers to tell us what they need, because different schools are resourced differently and may have different challenges.”
The first phase of the grant will consist of recruiting teachers to participate. Green said that she expects that the project will serve 15-25 teachers, and that once the teachers are recruited, a needs assessment will be done and a team of DSU faculty members who will work with the teachers will be assembled.
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Leslie Griffin said, “The exciting opportunity in this initiative is its potential for direct impact on the classroom. When you provide training and materials in STEM areas to support teachers in providing hands-on training with their students, that makes a real difference. These are the experiences that give students an ‘aha’ moment and possibly put them on a STEM-related trajectory for their future education and careers.”