Arkansas STRIVE: A State-wide Professional Development Program for Arkansas Middle School and Secondary School STEM Teachers

The goal of the STRIVE Program is to prepare and empower the future STEM workforce of Arkansas by increasing middle and high school students’ awareness of the diversity of jobs requiring STEM skills, and helping our students become more prepared to work in those jobs. While many programs work with the students themselves, STRIVE focuses on working with Arkansas STEM teachers, providing opportunities for teachers to become immersed in an organization for a short period during the summer to see first-hand how diverse and far reaching the skills they teach in their classroom related to the real world. The summer placement is dovetailed with training and support in how to incorporate these experiences in to their classroom, promoting approaches such as inquiry and problem-solving learning.

Retaining the STRIVE Program’s mission of enhancing under-served student experience in STEM classes, the program will continue to (1) increase student awareness of career opportunities requiring STEM skills (2) increase preparation level of STEM students for jobs in the workforce, (3) support improvements in pedagogical capabilities of STEM teachers, (4) enhance content knowledge of STEM teachers, and (5) bolster implementation of teaching standards.

During the summer of 2018, STRIVE has relocated to ETAS 125 on the campus of UA Little Rock and is undergoing a reconceptualization process under the direction of Dr. Mark Baillie, the new director of STRIVE and assistant professor of chemistry. With over 20 years of successful implementation and programming, the STRIVE Program seeks to take it’s programming and impact to the next level in Arkansas. We are currently working with organizations on and off campus to crystalize the new path forward, and will be accepting applications in early spring 2019 for summer 2019 placements.

For more information, contact Dr. Mark Baillie, Director, STRIVE Program at mtballie@ualr.edu. STRIVE is funded by the Arkansas Legislature.