The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) today announced a partnership with the Education Service Centers of Indiana (ESCI) to strengthen Indiana’s STEM teacher pipeline by helping fund coursework leading to full licensure.
The new partnership, called the Indiana STEM (I-STEM) Educator Expansion initiative, will fund tuition, books and material fees for both currently licensed teachers in non-STEM areas, as well as prospective teachers who are not licensed but hold a bachelor’s degree, to become licensed to teach a STEM subject.
“Building off the success of the I-SEAL (special education) and I-TELL (English learner) initiatives, I-STEM will allow us to expand our focus and strengthen our teacher pipeline in additional high-need areas, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “In today’s technology-driven world, it has never been more important for every Indiana student to have access to high-quality STEM instruction, and this starts with ensuring we have the very best and brightest educators in the classroom.”
Those who are eligible may receive free tuition and books, allowing them to complete the I-STEM program at no cost. Additional stipends are also available for the following:
- For prospective educators – a $1,000 enrollment stipend to help support childcare, licensure fees, books and other related expenses the participants may incur, a $1,000 commitment stipend upon being hired in an Indiana school district in a STEM-related position, as well as an additional $1,000 commitment stipend if hired in a rural district.
- For currently licensed educators adding a STEM licensure area – a $1,000 commitment stipend upon adding a STEM endorsement to their existing valid educator license and being hired or retained in an Indiana school district in a STEM-related position.
The I-STEM initiative is being administered by ESCI in collaboration with iteach Indiana, and is funded through $4.8 million from Indiana’s federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) and Title II A funding.
The initiative launches as Indiana doubles-down on elevating and prioritizing STEM education. This includes:
- Working with schools to publish a list of high-quality STEM curricular materials,
- Streamlining and prioritizing K-12 Academic Standards in mathematics, as well as science and computer science,
- Expanding grant eligibility for the Next Level Computer Science Grant program to allow state-accredited schools to apply, in addition to vendors (grant recipients will be announced soon!),
- Growing the Indiana STEM Cadre, focused on supporting schools through professional development that promotes research-based practices,
- Awarding $2.2 million in STEM Integration grants to 48 schools in 2023 to increase students’ access to STEM courses, programs and resources,
- Adding 19 new STEM Certified schools in 2023, including the largest number of secondary schools to engage in the certification process to date, as well as a new designation highlighting emerging STEM programs and leaders and the strides they are making to create an engaging STEM culture,
- Launching the Indiana Learns initiative to provide qualifying families with up to $1,000 to support reading and math tutoring for their child, and
- Expanding the impact of existing Student Learning Recovery Grant recipients, whose high-quality programming is achieving significant, positive outcomes for students in the areas of literacy, math and college and career readiness.
Eligible STEM content areas include life science, chemistry, earth/space science, physics, physical science, computer science, technology education and mathematics.
Current and aspiring teachers can learn more and apply for assistance by visiting https://keepindianalearning.org/events/istem/.