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High School-Level STEM Initiatives: State Offers or Requires Targeted Professional Development for STEM Teachers

Why does it matter?
  • Too many high school students are receiving instruction from teachers underprepared in mathematics and science.
  • Targeted professional development opportunities allow STEM teachers to network and to share effective means for improving achievement in the STEM subjects.
  • Hands-on professional development can help reinforce and deepen content knowledge.

  • Highlights

    Twenty-three states have established policies that provide for targeted professional development for high school teachers in the STEM subjects.

    Policies noted include those that explicitly name mathematics or science, or stand-alone policies that are specifically targeted towards those subjects. Listed policies have their origin in legislation or state regulations, and may not include professional development undertaken by consortia of universities within a state. For example, while North Carolina's Mathematics and Science Education Network provides professional development opportunities for teachers in the state, it was formed through cooperation among state universities. The program boasts that it "is proud to have maintained its status as a state-assisted rather than state-supported organization; only 30% of its current budget is comprised of state appropriations." Additionally, consortia of teachers in some states have formed to provide professional development opportunities for teachers in the state, as has been done in Alaska.

    Sources for all data points are accessible through this link.

    Methodology: This information was collected from state statutes, rules and regulations, and state education agency Web sites, and will be updated as new policies and programs are enacted.

    Last updated: June 2008

    This database was compiled by Kyle Zinth, policy analyst, ECS Information Clearinghouse. For questions, additions or corrections: 303.299.3673 or kzinth@ecs.org.

    Targeted professional development (noting when specific to mentoring and content area development, such as working in labs and partnerships with high-tech companies)
    Alabama Yes, Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) provides: (1) professional development, (2) equipment and materials and (3) on-site support. Schools become official AMSTI Schools by sending all of their math and science teachers and administrators to two-week summer institutes for two summers where teachers receive grade and subject specific professional development.

    Alabama Science in Motion (ASIM) program serves as the high school science component of AMSTI. It provides high school teachers with research-grade equipment, inquiry-based discipline training and classroom support needed to run effective science laboratory programs. High school mathematics teachers are served by their local AMSTI site.

    In 2007 the state announced plans to expand the program.
    Alaska None identified
    Arizona None identified
    Arkansas Yes, education service cooperatives are authorized to establish mathematics and science centers and to employ a mathematics and science coordinator who has demonstrated expertise in mathematics and science content, in pedagogy and in staff development.

    The duties of the mathematics and science coordinator at the mathematics and science resource center include:
  • Providing staff development for and individual technical assistance to personnel of member schools
  • Assisting in the selection of mathematics and science curricula, with instruction and with assessment of needs and resources
  • Enhancing curricula and instruction using technology
  • Providing information for curriculum alignment with mathematics and science standards and state frameworks
  • Developing and coordinating a mathematics and science resource center
  • Assisting with the development of requests for proposals for teacher enhancement in mathematics and science.

  • There are currently12 mathematics and science centers throughout the state.
    California Yes, multiple provisions.

    Subject Matter Projects
    Both science and mathematics are included in the state's university-based subject matter projects. Subject matter projects are designed to create opportunities for researchers, higher education faculty and elementary and secondary school faculty to work together to:
  • Identify exemplary teaching practices
  • Examine and develop research on learning, knowledge and educational materials
  • Provide support to teachers to develop and enhance the content knowledge and pedagogical skills necessary to implement state academic standards

  • The California Science Project consists of 18 regional sites. Although they have much in common, each site is staffed by individuals with unique science and teaching backgrounds. Each site has designed and developed programs to meet local educational needs.

    The California Mathematics Project consists of 19 regional sites located at college and university campuses throughout the state. Each site designs programs that meet the unique needs of schools and teachers in their region. Programs may include: intensive institute models, teacher leadership institutes, year-round workshops targeted on a specific mathematical topic, formal partnerships with schools and/or districts and programs aimed at specific school constituencies.

    High School Mathematics Professional Development Institutes
    High School Mathematics Professional Development Institutes are to provide instruction in the teaching of mathematics in a manner consistent with the standard for a comprehensive research-based math instruction program. Institutes must provide instruction in topics commonly found in high school math courses, including, but not limited to, geometry, Algebra II, trigonometry and calculus, that will enhance the ability of teachers to prepare students for state mathematics assessments, the state exit exam and AP and college coursework.

    Mathematics and Reading Professional Development
    Reimbursement program administered by the state superintendent that provides funding to local education agencies (LEAs) for teacher professional development in mathematics and reading/language arts. In order to be eligible for funding, LEAs must agree to provide 120 hours of training to participating teachers, which must consist of 40 hours of intensive professional development and 80 hours of follow-up training.
    Colorado Yes, the teacher development grant program provides funds to schools for research-based activities that have been proven effective in improving teachers' skills, especially in teaching reading, mathematics and science. When applying for funds, recipient schools must specify goals for a measurable increase in student learning in these subjects, and report on results.
    Connecticut None identified
    Delaware Yes, certified teachers may participate in professional development clusters, approved professional development activities that lead to measurable and observable knowledge and skills. Clusters are offered by a range of entities, including the University of Delaware, the Delaware Science Coalition and individual districts. Individual cluster structure and requirements vary.

    Teachers completing a professional development cluster are eligible for a salary supplement of two to four percent - the amount varies depending on completed cluster - based on the statewide salary schedule. Teachers are typically not responsible for fees, although some clusters may require teachers to cover certain fees.

    Clusters focused at the high school level include:
    Mathematics:
  • Proportional Reasoning in Math and Science.
  • Real World Mathematics.
  • Secondary Math.
  • Technology and Mathematics.

  • Science:
  • Chemical Biology.
  • EPSCoR Bioscience/Biotechnology.
  • Foundations of Chemistry.
  • High School Science Probe Workshop.
  • Nature and Science of Evolution.
  • Transmission and Expression of Genetic Material.
  • District of Columbia None identified
    Florida Yes, the Teacher/Quest Scholarship Program provides teachers with the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of science, mathematics and computer applications in business, industry and government. The program is a a seven-week, paid summer professional development program. Teachers work at select science and technology-based businesses in the state, enabling them to gain industry knowledge that can be infused into their curriculum.

    In 2007 a total of 85 teachers from 14 Florida counties signed up for the program. In 2006, the program drew teachers from 11 counties. The 2007 program featured 24 companies and institutions that employ the teachers during the summer. Scholarships are funded by purchases of special state-issued Challenger license plates that commemorate the seven astronauts who died when the space shuttle Challenger exploded on liftoff in 1986.
    Georgia Yes, each regional education service agency (RESA) is responsible for providing training and assistance in subjects that are assessed by the end-of-course exams. Current subjects in which the state uses end-of-course exams include:
  • Algebra I
  • Geometry
  • Biology
  • Physical Science

  • There are currently 16 RESAs throughout the state.
    Hawaii Yes, 2007 legislation establishes a professional development program to provide practicing high school science and mathematics teachers with opportunities to increase their knowledge and understanding of recent developments in the STEM subjects. The program will be administered by the University of Hawaii college of education and will be open to both certificated and non-certificated teachers.  Design of the professional development program must include evaluation of best practices in other school jurisdictions and provide a variety of options for teachers, which may include summer institutes, a combination of summer, after school or weekend institutes, distance learning through video conferencing or other mechanisms.

    The college of education is required to submit a report to the legislature by the 2009 legislative session on its implementation of the program, including the number of teachers who have participated in the program. For each of the 2007-08 and 2008-09 fiscal years, $175,000 was appropriated for program development.
    Idaho None identified
    Illinois Yes, multiple provisions.

    Duties of Regional Offices of Education
    Each regional office of education is required to provide for staff development services in fundamental learning areas, to include at least mathematics, science and reading resources. These services include planning, implementation and evaluation services as they relate to the continuing education, inservice training and staff development needs of teachers and administrators in the areas of mathematics, biological and physical sciences. Activities must include assisting in needs assessment activities, providing workshops and inservice training sessions, providing technical assistance, convening study or assessment groups, and acting as a clearinghouse for research materials in the fundamental learning areas. (Directory of regional offices of education.)

    Mathematics and Science Block Grant Program
    Meant to permit greater flexibility and efficiency in the distribution and use of certain state funds available to local education agencies in order to ensure that students meet or exceed the Illinois Learning Standards in mathematics and science. Grant funds are to be used to train and retrain teachers to be more proficient in the teaching of mathematics and science by providing professional development opportunities. (Funds are also to be used for additional purposes.) Funds will be distributed to school districts, subject to appropriation.

    Contracts and Grants for Professional Development
    The state board of education may enter into contracts and award grants to school districts, the regional educational service centers, the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Illinois colleges and universities and other non-profit organizations devoted to scientific literacy, to provide inservice staff development for teachers.

    The state board may also provide grants for colleges and universities to review and revise the preservice curriculum in mathematics and science in order to address an intensified focus on scientific literacy.

    Indiana Yes, multiple provisions.

    Summer Training Institutes
    Teachers who are assigned to teach mathematics or science Advanced Placement (AP) courses may participate in summer training institutes offered by the College Board. These teachers may be eligible for a stipend to cover costs of attending summer institutes, provided the training meets specified criteria.

    Tax Credits for Summer Employment of Teachers
    Taxpayers in the state are eligible for a state income tax credit for employing teachers in qualified positions during the summer months. Eligible teachers are certified in a shortage area (including mathematics and science) and are employed under contract during the regular school term by a school corporation in a shortage area. Qualified positions are relevant to the teacher's academic training in a shortage area and utilize skills and expertise developed as a result of the teacher's academic training and/or teaching experience.  

    Taxpayers are entitled to a credit in an amount equal to the lesser of $2,500 or 50% of the amount of compensation paid to the eligible teacher by the taxpayer during the taxable year.

    School Establishment of Professional Development Programs
    Additionally, each school is responsible for establishing a professional development program that has a primary focus on state and local academic standards, including a focus on Core 40 subject areas, which includes mathematics and science.
    Iowa Yes, multiple provisions.

    Teacher Development Academies
    The academies are a series of professional development opportunities available to teams from public schools. Among the academies purposes is to improve district access to qualified trainers in high demand content areas, including mathematics and science. The content offered in the academies is selected to assist local districts in providing training to implement required district career development plans.

    Objectives are:
  • Participants acquire knowledge and skills in instructional strategies that are supported by scientifically based research.
  • Participants practice strategies in the classroom, collect data on student results and study their own implementation.
  • Participants attend all training sessions, which usually begins in the summer and is distributed through the school year.

  • Teacher expenses incurred outside of the contract day are covered as are expenses during the school year when they are practicing implementing the strategy. Academies are in operation in all regions of the state, although due to funding there are waiting lists for participation in each region.

    Iowa Professional Development Content Network

    Additionally, the Iowa Professional Development Content Network Web site provides a tool for local districts to use when selecting professional development content in mathematics and science. The site includes reviews of research studies that describe the research conducted on specific instructional strategies and programs. The site also includes ideas for selecting content, resources and links to other sources of information about scientifically based research practices.

    Kentucky Yes, 2005 legislation was aimed at improving mathematics achievement in the state. (Also addresses reading achievement.) The legislation calls for collaboration among educational entities - including the department of education, institutions of higher education, districts and schools - to meet its intentions. Each entity is charged with specific responsibilities, for example, the department of education is responsible for providing administrative support and oversight to programs to train classroom coaches and mentors to help teachers with mathematics instruction, and state colleges and universities are responsible for delivering appropriate continuing education for teachers Additionally, three portions of the the legislation addressed teacher professional development.

    Teachers' Professional Growth Fund
    The growth fund was created to provide teachers high quality professional development in content knowledge in subjects including mathematics and science. Funds may be used for tuition reimbursement, stipends, purchase of materials for professional development programs and travel for professional development purposes. The state board annually determines the priority for content emphasis based on the greatest needs.

    Local school boards are authorized to advance funds necessary for its teachers to participate in a college course or professional development seminar or approved activity and receive reimbursement from the department at the conclusion of the activity or course by the teacher. Priority for the use of funds is to train and support teams of teachers from all school levels to be trained as mathematics coaches and mentors in statewide institutes. (Instruction in reading also is a priority.)

    Committee on Mathematics Achievement (CMA)

    The CMA was charged with developing a multifaceted strategic plan to improve student achievement in mathematics at all levels of schooling. Released in 2007, the CMA's plan: provides strategies to improve mathematics performance; identifies specific groups, agencies and organizations to implement the strategies; and offers a tentative timeline to meet four areas of critical need:
  • Create a shared vision of high-quality mathematics instruction by enhancing the beliefs and attitudes of students, teachers, instructors, faculty, administrators, families and community members about mathematics.
  • Enhance Pre-K through 16 teachers’ mathematics knowledge and ability to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all students.
  • Enhance the awareness and knowledge of Pre-K-12 teachers, adult educators, and postsecondary faculty regarding effective mathematics resources, including curriculum materials, intervention and remediation programs, and technology, and provide them the support necessary to use the resources effectively.
  • Increase the number of Kentucky teachers with expertise in mathematics and mathematics teaching through aggressive recruitment programs and support-based retention strategies.

  • Kentucky Center for Mathematics (KCM)
    In collaboration with the CMA, the department of education, the Council on Postsecondary Education, all state public universities and other institutions, the KCM is responsible for developing and executing an implementation, research and evaluation plan to put into action the goals outlined by the CMA. In summer 2006, KCM launched a statewide coaching and mentoring program that will partly accomplish these strategic goals.

    Additionally the KCM will also make available:
  • Opportunities to make connections (faculty and students, teachers and coaches, intervention specialists and parents, etc.) in face-to-face meetings and electronically through the Central system at the University of Kentucky.
  • A clearinghouse and physical repository of quality mathematics curricula, exemplary programs, best practices research, teaching/coaching materials and technology designed to enhance mathematics education in Kentucky.
  • A web presence to easily disseminate information on professional development and teaching resources.
  • Undergraduate and preservice teacher preparation models.
  • Professional development that unites teachers, coaches, students, administrators and university faculty
  • Louisiana The Louisiana Systemic Initiatives Program (LaSIP) was established to improve mathematics and science education in the state through a cooperative effort from the different education agencies and the National Science Foundation. This goal is addressed, in part, by providing professional development in mathematics and science. For fiscal year 2007-08, LaSIP will fund professional development projects that prepare teachers with the in-depth content knowledge and effective classroom skills needed to increase the academic achievement of the students they serve.
    Maine Yes, the Hannaford Teacher Renewal Scholarship Fund provides a tuition waiver for up to six credits of undergraduate or graduate course work. This award is given to practicing certified - including transitional and conditional - classroom teachers for the purpose of taking University of Maine System courses that will lead to the improvement of teaching in mathematics, science or foreign language. Course fees, childcare, travel, books and materials are eligible for reimbursement. Applicants must be currently practicing teachers in K-12 classrooms with significant teaching responsibilities in mathematics, science or foreign language.

    Additionally, the Maine School of Science and Mathematics may provide, among other services, professional development for the state's science and mathematics teachers.
    Maryland None identified
    Massachusetts Yes, mathematics teachers at schools with low-performing mathematics programs are required to take the Mathematics Content Assessment after the program is classified as low-performing. Individual results on the assessment are forwarded to the applicable mathematics teachers and their school principals for use in developing or revising professional development plans, as provided in the state's Recertification Regulations.
    Michigan Yes, there are 33 regional centers in the Michigan Mathematics and Science Centers Network. Among the services the centers provide is professional development for mathematics and science educators based on identified needs.

    Minnesota Yes, 2007 legislation appropriated money to establish regional mathematics and science teacher training centers. Each center is required provide a professional development program to train teachers selected by their district to assist other teachers with mathematics and science curriculum, standards and instruction to ensure that all teachers have access to high quality professional development programs in mathematics and science, and research-based mathematics and science programs and instructional models premised on best practices.
    Mississippi None identified
    Missouri None identified
    Montana None identified
    Nebraska None identified
    Nevada None identified
    New Hampshire None identified
    New Jersey None identified
    New Mexico Yes, among the duties of the mathematics and science bureau is developing and evaluating professional development programs in mathematics and science that are aligned with state academic and performance standards. Additionally, the mathematics and science proficiency fund provides funds to public schools, school districts, public post-secondary educational institutions and persons that implement innovative, research-based mathematics and science curricula and professional development programs.

    Recipients are required to provide an annual report to the bureau that includes a detailed budget report, a description of the services provided and documented evidence of the stated outcomes of the program funded by the mathematics and science proficiency fund and that provides other information requested by the bureau.

    New York None identified
    North Carolina None identified
    North Dakota None identified
    Ohio None identified
    Oklahoma Yes, the Oklahoma Teacher Preparation Act provides for a continuing education program for mathematics teachers. Under the program, teachers employed to teach mathematics may obtain their certification; teachers who already have their certification may take higher education courses to further their professional development. The program pays for up to $100 per credit hour (with a maximum of 24 credit hours for teachers taking higher education courses). Teachers seeking to obtain their certification in mathematics are given priority in funding.

    Annual implementation of the program is contingent upon the level of per pupil funding, which must be at least 90% of the regional average expenditure.

    Oregon None identified
    Pennsylvania None identified
    Rhode Island None identified
    South Carolina Yes, the Critical Teaching Needs program was established to encourage the offering of specially designed courses in critical needs areas - including mathematics, science and computer education - for public school teachers. The program provides funding to districts for professional development, which can take the form of college credit or certificate renewal courses. Districts may apply for funds to conduct courses for certificate renewal or to contract with colleges to offer the prescribed courses. Teachers are given preference, although principals, curriculum coordinators and directors of instruction also are eligible if space permits.
    South Dakota None identified
    Tennessee None identified
    Texas Yes, multiple provisions.

    Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (T-STEM) Centers
    The state has established, through partnerships with non-profits, universities and local school agencies, five T-STEM Centers to develop new STEM instructional materials. The centers will also provide professional development training to teachers and school leaders, and will evaluate the practices used at recently established T-STEM Academies to identify successful practices that can be duplicated in other schools throughout the state. (T-STEM Academies are small high schools formed through the states T-STEM initiative.)

    T-STEM Best Practices Network
    This network serves as a conduit for sharing best practices and lessons learned from the T-STEM Academies and Centers with all middle and high schools. Schools will have access to relevant professional development, rigorous mathematics and science curriculum, lessons plans infused with real-world activities in mathematics and science and expert and peer advice.

    Master Mathematics or Science Teachers
    The state has established grant programs to encourage teachers to become certified as master mathematics or science teachers. Eligible teachers must have at least three years of teaching experience and complete a knowledge-based course of instruction that includes training in mathematics or science instruction and professional peer mentoring techniques that have been proven effective through scientific testing. Districts may apply for funds to pay stipends of up to $5,000 to master-teachers who teach at a high-need campus and have primary responsibilities of teaching science or mathematics and serving as a teaching mentor to other teachers.

    Mathematics Instructional Coaches Pilot Program
    2007 legislation directed the state commissioner to establish a pilot program to promote college and workforce readiness at eligible districts and open-enrollment charter schools by providing assistance in developing the content knowledge and instructional expertise of mathematics teachers. Grant recipients must design and implement a pilot program in partnership with an entity from the Approved Service Provider List. (This includes - but is not restricted to - T-STEM Centers.) In March 2008, the Texas Education Agency released a Request for Applications for the pilot program.

    Mathematics, Science and Technology Teacher Prep Academies
    2007 legislation directed the Higher Education Coordinating Board to establish academies at certain institutions of higher education to improve the instructional skills of experienced teachers and students enrolled in teacher preparation program in mathematics, science and technology.

    Programs may: (1) Provide financial assistance for the purpose of allowing participants to complete the program and obtain a master teacher certificate; (2) Include programs in leadership skills to develop training, mentoring and coaching skills; (3) Deliver coursework electronically for some or all of the program; or (4) Provide for ongoing professional development and coordination with specific public school instructional programs.
    Utah Yes, the Public Education Job Enhancement Program is designed in part to train highly qualified secondary teachers in mathematics, physics, chemistry, physical science, learning technology and information technology. The program provides for awards of up to $20,000 or a scholarship to cover the tuition costs for a master's degree, an endorsement, or graduate education to be given to selected public school teachers on a competitive basis.
    Vermont None identified
    Virginia None identified
    Washington Yes, multiple provisions.

    Learning Assistance Program
    The Learning Assistance Program provides districts with state funds to assist underachieving students, as identified through statewide assessments. Authorized activities that districts may use funds for include professional development for certified staff that focuses on mathematics content and instructional strategies. (Also pertains to reading.)

    Learning Improvement Days
    Provides funds to districts for the creation of targeted professional development programs to further the development of outstanding mathematics and science teaching and learning opportunities in the state. (Also pertains to reading.) The expected outcomes of these programs are the provision of meaningful, targeted professional development for all teachers in mathematics or science.

    Activities that may be conducted on learning improvement days include:
    • Developing and updating student learning improvement plans.
    • Implementing curriculum materials and instructional strategies.
    • Providing professional development to implement the selected curricula and instruction.
    • Developing and implementing assessment strategies and training in assessment scoring.
    Mathematics and Science Instructional Coaches
    2007 legislation directed the superintendent of public instruction to develop a mathematics and science instructional coach program that includes an initial coach development experience for new coaches provided through an institute setting, coaching support seminars, and additional coach development services. Instructional coaches will be focused on supporting teachers as they apply knowledge, develop skills, polish techniques and deepen their understanding of content and instructional practices. This work takes a number of forms including: Individualized professional development, department-wide and school-wide professional development, guidance in student data interpretation and using assessment to guide instruction. Washington State University is responsible for evaluating and preparing a report on the program, with an interim report due November 2008 and a final report due December 2009.
    Wisconsin None identified
    Wyoming None identified


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