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Icon for: Michael Odell


University of Texas at Tyler

UT Tyler Noyce Program

NSF Awards: 1035462

2017 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Undergraduate, Graduate, Adult learners, Informal / multi-age

Increasing STEM achievement is critical to filling the STEM pipeline. Creating the conditions for increasing STEM achievement requires an examination and coordination of different domains in the STEM Education Ecosystem. This includes implementing interventions in the k-12 domain, the higher education domain, the informal domain, and the teacher support domain. Texas STEM Academies are one model that follow a blueprint to improve STEM outcomes. The UT Tyler Innovation Academy is a k-12 school that serves as a laboratory to test and study interventions targeted at improving K-12 STEM and Teacher Preparation. In addition to being a model T-STEM Academy, the school is host to traditional, UTeach, and Teacher Residency Teacher preparation programs. This video will highlight the T-STEM model. In addition, video highlights will include footage from the academy and teacher preparation participants to describe their experiences.  The video will also highlight the role of Noyce Scholars in the model and the role of the Instructional Coaches that support them. 

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Discussion from the 2017 STEM for All Video Showcase (14 posts)
  • Icon for: Michael Odell

    Michael Odell

    Lead Presenter
    Co-Director UTeach
    May 14, 2017 | 11:34 p.m.


    I hope you enjoy the video. The University of Texas at Tyler is working to produce more and better trained STEM teachers. We thank NSF for their support through the Noyce program. Our model has evolved over time and we now have developed multiple pathways for STEM teacher preparation. These include a UTeach Model Replication for Middle and High School Preservice teachers and a Teacher Residency program that takes place in our Laboratory Schools for career changer and recent STEM graduates. Both models are proving to be effective at producing high quality teachers and initial retention data looks promising. I attribute much of this success to our school model and our intensive coaching model for interns, student teachers, and inservice teachers working in our schools. I look forward to the discussion. I will check in often throughout the day. 

  • Icon for: Michael DeGraff

    Michael DeGraff

    Teacher Support Specialist
    May 15, 2017 | 12:13 a.m.

    Hi Michael!

    Good to see your video up here and the great things you guys are doing in Tyler.


  • Icon for: Michael Odell

    Michael Odell

    Lead Presenter
    Co-Director UTeach
    May 15, 2017 | 08:21 a.m.

    Thanks for the kind words. 

  • Icon for: William McHenry

    William McHenry

    Executive Director
    May 15, 2017 | 11:46 a.m.

    The UT-Tyler T-STEM Academy appears to be a holistic model for school transformation in k-12 schools. They study intervention strategies that work to improve K-12 STEM and teacher preparations. It is one of a few intervention strategies that address school reform and teacher preparation school reforms. This is a very high quality video that illustrates how to address a national challenge. I think the data presented really was influencial.

  • Icon for: Michael Odell

    Michael Odell

    Lead Presenter
    Co-Director UTeach
    May 16, 2017 | 10:30 p.m.

    Thank you for the kind words. We also follow a blueprint that is STEM specific. You can find a link to the blueprint here:  http://www.tstemblueprint.org/uploads/artifacts...


  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    May 15, 2017 | 12:21 p.m.


        An interesting effort!  I have two questions:

    1.  The "education ecosystem" idea is popping up around the country in various contexts.  Is your  model of the STEM ecosystem still evolving?  Are there ways that you think it's distinctive?

    2.  The improvements in achievement are encouraging.  Are you following cohorts of kids, to see if changes at (say) 4th grade persist over time?  


  • Icon for: Jake Foster

    Jake Foster

    May 16, 2017 | 03:03 p.m.

    I too am interested how you think about an ecosystem and how that informs improvement efforts.

  • Icon for: Heidi Schweingruber

    Heidi Schweingruber

    May 16, 2017 | 09:40 p.m.

    Just have to chime in to say that I would also love to hear more about how you think about an ecosystem. I've often heard people describe it as including spheres outside of formal schooling. I'm wondering if your model includes connections to informal settings (museums, clubs, etc) or other community resources.

  • Icon for: Michael Odell

    Michael Odell

    Lead Presenter
    Co-Director UTeach
    May 16, 2017 | 10:39 p.m.

    Brian: We are indeed following cohorts. One of the early lessons learned when we started our academy was we chose to begin with 3rd grade. Turns out no one moves a 3rd grader from their school unless there is a "reason". So we have good data showing that we have to make up gaps as these students are typically behind in reading and math. This impacted our initial success and led to the creation of our intensive coaching model.


    Ecosystem: Our ecosystem has evolved. In the video, if you can look at the graphic behind the circles is a box labeled leadership. That was added later as we struggled with finding / developing good leaders for our school model. Overall the model was designed to try and capture as much learning opportunity in STEM as possible. Inside and outside of the classroom. The only piece still missing is what happens at home. This is quite variable as you can imagine. 

    We are looking at different dosages of formal and informal learning as it relates to STEM learning and learning in general. We are also tracking behaviors and dispositions.

    As far as museums, clubs, etc.: We actually manage the children's museum for the city and our students have access. We also have a robust mobile STEM program for other schools but our also have access. We also manage 21st Century and fee-based after school programs. We have some good data on impact of these efforts in ELA and STEM areas.

    In addition we also added the teacher preparation piece, the teacher continuing education piece, and content for HS Dual Credit students as part of the model. We have over 30 Masters level projects in progress as well as other faculty.   

  • Icon for: Jake Foster

    Jake Foster

    May 16, 2017 | 03:01 p.m.

    I appreciate the STEM focus of the school's design and your efforts. There is a lot of potential in thinking about STEM as a holistic endeavor (not just as S, T, E, and M in different classrooms). From your video and materials I see a strong teacher preparation/teacher development model. I don't see, however, how this is a school turnaround model. Can you explain your work, or this school, represents a turnaround model as opposed to a well-crafted STEM program design? Both or either are significant accomplishments. I just worry about low-performing schools putting the pieces of a STEM program in place on the assumption that those will 'turn around' the school, while the reality of school turnaround efforts are much deeper than the program components. Your thoughts and experiences -- or anyone else's -- would be helpful. Thanks!

  • Icon for: Michael Odell

    Michael Odell

    Lead Presenter
    Co-Director UTeach
    May 16, 2017 | 10:46 p.m.

    Turnaround Model. In Texas T-STEM Academies are a turn around model. We are one of 7 T-STEM Centers in Texas that provide support to STEM Academies. We help schools transform their traditional approach into STEM Schools. This requires rethinking schooling and teacher preparation and support. The link to the blueprint is:


    From the Texas Education Website: Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Initiative (T-STEM)

    Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (T-STEM) Academies are rigorous secondary schools focusing on improving instruction and academic performance in science and mathematics-related subjects and increasing the number of students who study and enter STEM careers. T-STEM Academies are demonstration schools and learning labs that develop innovative methods to improve science and mathematics instructions.

    Prior to the 2011-2012 school year, the only path to become a T-STEM Academy was a T-STEM Academy grant through the Texas Education Agency or one of the private partners in the Texas High School Project. Beginning with the 2011-2012 school year, a second pathway was created. Campuses, using local or other sources of funding, that are implementing the T-STEM Design Blueprint with fidelity may apply to be designated as a T-STEM Academy. T-STEM campuses are designated based on a rigorous designation process. Once a campus is designated, professional development and technical assistance are provided to designated T-STEM academies to serve as demonstration schools and learning labs to showcase innovative instruction methods which integrate technology and engineering into science and mathematics instruction. Designated T-STEM campuses serve students in grades 6-12 or 9-12. (We extended that model down to grade K)

    T-STEM Blueprint Benchmarks:
    • Mission-driven leadership
    • T-STEM Culture
    • Student Outreach, Recruitment, and Retention
    • Teacher Selection, Development, and Retention
    • Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
    • Strategic Alliances
    • Academy Advancement and Sustainability

    School districts or open-enrollment charters may apply for a campus to be awarded T-STEM designation if certain criteria are met. Campuses awarded T-STEM Designation are provided technical assistance and professional development to ensure implementation of the T-STEM Blueprint with fidelity. Sample designation criteria are below:

    • Target and enroll students who are at-risk of dropping out of school.
    • Be a school of choice with no requirements for enrollment such as test scores, essay questions etc.
    • Serve grades 6-12 or grades 9-12 with an active relationship with the feeder middle school(s).
    • Implement the T-STEM Blueprint and demonstrate progress on the Blueprint continuum.

    Texas is home to 121 state designated T-STEM Academies including 22 newly designated campuses for the 2016-2017 school year.

    Turns out it is a great blueprint even if you remove STEM. It also aligns well to our UTeach Teacher preparation model. 

  • Icon for: Heidi Schweingruber

    Heidi Schweingruber

    May 16, 2017 | 09:44 p.m.

    The model for supporting both pre-service and in-service teachers' learning seems quite strong. I'm interested in whether and how the 2 groups of teachers come together in the program. Also, for the pre-service teachers, do you track them after they leave your program and move into school settings where they may have less support and where there may not be as much support for promoting STEM experiences?  If so, how do they do? 

  • Icon for: Michael Odell

    Michael Odell

    Lead Presenter
    Co-Director UTeach
    May 16, 2017 | 10:50 p.m.

    The two primary preservice models for our STEM teachers is our Teacher Residency Model (career changers) and UTeach for our 4-12 STEM teachers. In the TRES model the inservice and preservice teachers are housed together in a mentor/mentee relationship. Our instructional coaches meet with them intensively to bring both types of teachers to do inquiry science, mostly PBL, at a high rigorous level. UTeach students have experiences aligned with UTeach courses at the Innovation Academy. traditional schools, and also at our informal venues. 

    We have a limited induction but we are strengthening the program. If graduates teach in a public school in Texas we can track them as well as their student performance. (And we do). 

  • Icon for: Michael Odell

    Michael Odell

    Lead Presenter
    Co-Director UTeach
    May 16, 2017 | 10:57 p.m.

    You might find our school website interesting: http://www.uttia.org/ NOTE: We are an OPEN ENROLLMENT School. 

    About LINK, also might be interested in the academics link. 

    The UT Tyler Innovation Academy (UTTIA) is a university charter public school. The charter was approved by the State Board of Education in 2012. The UTTIA opened locations at each of the UT Tyler Campuses in the same year:

    • University of Texas Tyler
    • University of Texas Tyler-Longview
    • University of Texas Tyler-Palestine

    The mission of the UT Tyler Innovation Academy is to develop students who leave school STEM College and Career Ready. STEM College Ready indicates students are prepared to enroll in a STEM Major at a university. Typically this means they are calculus ready upon graduation or have completed calculus in high school.

    STEM Academy

    The UTTIA’s guiding document is the Texas STEM (T-STEM) Academy Blueprint. It is our goal to serve as a demonstration site for schools seeking to develop STEM Schools. The UTTIA was one of the first schools in Texas to apply the T-STEM blueprint to the elementary grades.

    The UTTIA specializes in STEM Education and offers a STEM Pathway with an Engineering focus, Biomedical Focus,  or a Multidisciplinary Pathway with a Computer Science focus. 

    All students are expected to graduate on the Distinguished Academic Plan and complete 15-40+ hours of university credit. Students need to be Algebra ready by 8th grade and meet the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) assessment by the end of the sophomore year of high school to maximize the number of university credits earned while enrolled in high school.

    Project Lead the Way

    The University of Texas at Tyler is the provider of Project Lead The Way (PLTW) for the state of Texas. PLTW is the nation’s leading provider of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs. Through world-class K-12 curriculum, PLTW helps students develop the skills needed to succeed in the global economy. The academy offers the following PLTW STEM programs currently:

    • PLTW Launch is our program for third through fifth grades. Students become problem solvers using structured approaches, like the engineering design process, and employ critical thinking.
    • PLTW Gateway provides engineering and biomedical science curriculum for middle school students that challenges, inspires, and offers schools variety and flexibility. Students get rigorous and relevant experiences through activity-, project-, and problem-based learning. They use industry-leading technology to solve problems while gaining skills in communication, collaboration, critical-thinking, and creativity.
    • PLTW Engineering is our high school engineering program. It is about applying engineering, science, math, and technology to solve complex, open-ended problems in a real-world context. Students focus on the process of defining and solving a problem. They learn how to apply STEM knowledge, skills, and habits of mind to make the world a better place through innovation.
    • The PLTW Biomedical Science (BMS) program is a series of four courses designed to guide students to the possibilities of medical based careers. The courses are complementary to the students’ core curriculum and are designed to expand upon college preparatory math and science programs. Students explore the concepts of human medicine, and examine the processes, structures and interactions of the human body – often playing the role of biomedical professionals. They also explore the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, working collaboratively to investigate and design innovative solutions to the health challenges of the 21st century.
    Laboratory School

    The UTTIA serves as a laboratory school for the UT Tyler College of Education and Psychology. The goals of the lab school include:

    • Conduct high-quality research on STEM teaching and learning.
    • Develop innovations through research-based enhancements to current practice.
    • To collaborate with researchers at other institutions, nationally and internationally, to conduct investigations into STEM learning.
    • To strengthen teacher preparation and professional development by connecting the Lab School closely to preservice and inservice training.
    • UTeach Model Demonstration Site
    • Teacher Residency Model Demonstration Site
    • Disseminate research results.
    • Serve the UT System as a Core Research Facility for STEM Education.

    UTTIA administrators and faculty work closely with UT Tyler Educator Preparation Programs. The UT Tyler UTeach STEM teacher preparation program (MS/HS) is integrated into the academy. UTeach students complete their Project Based Instruction coursework and complete significant clinical hours at the academy. Some UTeach Students have the opportunity to complete their Apprentice Teaching at the UTTIA. In addition, students preparing to become elementary teachers, special educators, reading specialists, school administrators, and counselors may also be involved at the UTTIA.

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