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April 4, 2003

Michael Mewhinney
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.                           
Phone: 650/604-3937 or 650/604-9000

Nancy Bussani
Collaborative for Higher Education, San Jose, Calif.
Phone: 408/924-2612



The House Family Foundation has awarded a $402,000 grant to the Collaborative for Higher Education’s Teacher Institute in Santa Clara County, Calif. 

Under the terms of the grant, the Collaborative Teacher Institute will partner with NASA Ames Research Center, located in California’s Silicon Valley, to provide professional development for elementary school teachers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“A key NASA objective is to enhance science and mathematics instruction with unique teaching tools and experiences that only NASA can provide,” said Donald G. James, NASA Ames’ education director.  “The Teacher Institute, supported by this House grant, is an important component in support of NASA’s objective.”

The primary intent of the project is to boost the math and science content knowledge of teachers in Grades 3 through 5, many of whom have had limited exposure to these subjects. “If we want children to be excited about learning and pursuing careers in STEM, then it is imperative for teachers to understand and be enthusiastic about the science and math they are teaching,” said Miriam Landesman, the Teacher Institute’s education director.

The science content will be based upon the four key content areas of the California grades 3 through 5 science standards, and some applications will be drawn from NASA science curriculum already available. The Teacher Institute will begin this summer with an intensive two-week institute for teacher participants and will continue throughout the school year with monthly reinforcement sessions, classroom visits and an on-line interactive Web site.

Participating teachers will share what they learn by training other third through fifth grade teachers in their districts.  A project-based curriculum approach will be used to help teachers learn science, mathematics and technology while engaged in hands-on projects. The goal will be to increase teachers’ STEM content knowledge and pedagogical skills and at the same time, ignite a passion and inquisitiveness in teachers about science and mathematics. 

The Teacher Institute is implemented by the Collaborative for Higher Education, a partnership of public higher education institutions in Silicon Valley - San Jose State University, the University of California at Santa Cruz and the Foothill De Anza community colleges.  The collaborative works closely with NASA Ames and ultimately will be located in NASA Research Park, a world-class, shared-use research and development campus in association with academia, industry and non-profit organizations.

The collaborative’s vision is to create a statewide model of higher education institutions working together with a seamless delivery of educational services in math, science, engineering and technology.  The collaborative is committed to addressing workforce development and filling the student pipeline in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“During the two-year project, it is estimated that over 3,500 students will benefit from the new STEM knowledge acquired by the teachers in this program.  As these teachers continue to teach, thousands of additional students will be impacted as well,” said Nancy Bussani, executive director, Collaborative for Higher Education.  “We’re delighted the House Family Foundation has chosen to support this program.”

For more information about the NASA education program, please visit:



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