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IISME (Industry Initiatives for Science and Math Education)

Key Features

IISME (Industry Initiatives for Science and Math Education) is a consortium of companies, research laboratories, and government organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area that provides summer fellowships to K-14 teachers within their workplaces, each teacher with a mentor. A variety of support systems are in place each summer and additional efforts are made during the year, all to promote the transfer of what is learned in the summer to the classrooms in the fall.

IISME's program is a model for over 75 such programs, commonly referred to as SWEPTs, that operate in various parts of the country. IISME also supports this SWEPT Network directly in a variety of ways.

Becoming Involved

    • Scientists, engineers, corporate managers, and laboratory administrators where there is no SWEPT may be moved to establish one. IISME is a model SWEPT and within the SWEPT Network there is a broad diversity of other models. Both IISME and the SWEPT Network are supportive organizations for such an effort.
    • For technical personal in organizations already having a SWEPT, the experiences of IISME and other SWEPTs provide strong reasons for becoming a mentor.

    Overview

    Goals. IISME seeks, through industry-education partnerships, to transform science and math teaching and learning, mainly but not solely at the high-school level, so that teachers can better prepare students to be lifelong learners, responsible citizens, and productive employees. It does this by providing teachers with experiences and tools that will encourage and enable them to improve their practices and even change their schools.

    Principal Activity -- Summer Fellowship Program (SFP). IISME's principal activity is the Summer Fellowship Program (SFP) providing mostly high-school but some K-8 and community college science and math teachers with paid 8-week summer internships in technology companies, government agencies, and university laboratories.

    Scope of Summer Fellowship Program. Since 1985, 512 Fellows from 252 schools have been mentored by 900 researchers and managers from 87 institutions in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Details

    Recruitment and Roles of Sponsoring Organizations and Mentors. Sponsoring organizations include high technology, biotechnology, health-care, and finance organizations as well as a few universities and government laboratories. IISME has roughly 20 returning sponsors and 5 to 8 new sponsors a year. Sponsors commit to a variety of support, not only financial, to Fellows. Mentors, recruited within these organizations, commit to supervising the work of their Fellows and providing support in the creation of their Action Plans.

    Details

    Recruitment of Teachers. Teacher applications are recruited widely, then selected competitively by sponsoring organizations. Teachers must be teaching K-14 fulltime, although most teachers teach in high schools with a number teach in middle schools. First-time applicants get priority, although some teachers are Fellows for as many as 7 years.

    Details

    Preparation of Participating Fellows and Mentors. Fellows receive some training in telecommunication and computer skills which are seen to be very important; both Fellows and mentors receive an Orientation Manual and attend a half-day orientation session.

    Details

    Summer Activities. Fellows work in many ways in many areas, form networks with other Fellows, and each Fellow develops an Action Plan to transfer what they learn to their classroom. Some of the best of these can be viewed on the Web.

    Details

    Follow-up Activities. These essential activities throughout the year include meetings, workshops, an online mail list, a teacher-generated newsletter, various teacher-initiated trainings, and the possibility of mini-grants to assist in the transferring of the summer experience into the classroom.

    Details

    Financial Considerations. The financial implications for Fellows and sponsors and the costs and income of the entire program for IISME are detailed.

    Details

    SWEPTs and the SWEPT Network. The Summer Fellowship Program was one of the original models of a Summer Work Experience Program for Teachers. It is now one of 75 SWEPTs which constitute the very informal SWEPT Network. IISME plays several roles in supporting that network.

    Details

    Impact of SWEPTs. The data on the impact of SWEPTs, including the IISME SFP, on teachers is positive but qualitative. Some data on the impact of a Columbia University SWEPT on students is both quantitative and startling.

    Details

    Organizational Information and Contacts. Information about the history, governance, staff, and contacts for IISME are given.

    Details


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