As part of the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation’s Math Professional Development Initiative (MPDI), ASSET STEM Education joined a multi-partner effort to improve math instruction and increase student achievement in K-8 schools in rural operating communities where Freeport operates. In partnership with The Teaching Channel, ASSET will serve the three school districts in Grant County, New Mexico.
ASSET’s program will equip rural New Mexico elementary and middle school educators with evidence-based methods for delivering student-driven math learning while cultivating teacher leaders that increase retention and sustain ongoing professional growth. Through blended professional development (in-person and videoconference) and online collaboration tools, the project will serve up to 34 teachers from 13 school classrooms, ultimately impacting 3,680 K-8 students.
Through STEMworks, Change the Equation provided a pool of exemplary programs for the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation to consider as we looked to help match the right programs with the needs of each school or region, and therefore accelerate the performance of math teachers and ultimately student achievement in K-8 math. Additionally, Vital Signs has been a critical tool in helping the broader community understand the need to support STEM education based on actual state data for student performance, teacher availability, STEM jobs and more. Businesses appreciate the ability to make data driven decisions that increase the effectiveness of their social investments, driving toward specific goals to prepare students for college and career. Change the Equation provides that support.
“Thanks to the work of Change The Equation and its STEMworks tool, we have powerful, evidence-based data that clearly points to the programs with the most impact on student performance in STEM," said Tracy Bame, President, Freeport-McMoRan Foundation. "If all corporations and other funders could or would shift dollars to these programs and help scale them into schools across the country, the positive impact for students could be both faster and more dramatic. It’s like a doctor choosing a medicine to address a patient illness – he’s not going to choose one that might work or will be somewhat effective. He chooses the one proven to cure the illness.”
While in its early stages, the project has the potential to validate an effective model for delivering national education improvement programs/resources to rural schools that were previously out of reach or whose needs were different than urban schools. At the same time, it is promoting interactions within and across schools and districts located in the same region. As one administrator explained, “the professional development will impact the entire district by building community through collaboration.”
“One of the many reasons Aldo Leopold Charter School District is so excited about the training ASSET STEM Education is providing is the opportunity for our teachers to train with teachers from several district,” said Dave Chandler, director of community outreach and development at Aldo Leopold Charter School District. “We tend to get isolated within our own schools and making connections with other energized educators will have a lasting impact on how we teach and support each other.”
“Hiring qualified people is a case of supply and demand – a concept at the core of all of our businesses,” said Richard Adkerson, President and CEO, Freeport-McMoRan. “ In the case of our workforce, demand is significantly outpacing supply, making qualified, well-educated workers increasingly more valuable. A qualified workforce is vital to the success of all of our businesses. If we fail to produce a larger STEM labor pool, the cost will be immense and could place the U.S. economy at risk.”