A new public-private partnership hopes to address a shortage of STEM teachers in Indiana by creating a new academy to support and mentor new educators. Butler University is collaborating with The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Zoo, and Codelicious to establish the STEM New Educator Academy.

The initiative is being initially funded by a $230,000 grant from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

The program intends to provide mentorship and professional development opportunities for K-6 teachers during the first three years of their careers.

“The first years of teaching can be challenging and creating solutions to support new STEM educators is crucial for success,” said Catherine Pangan, Butler Professor of Education and Director for the STEM New Educator Academy. “Through this collaborative and experiential program, we hope to move the needle, so teachers want to stay in the profession and be part of our dynamic community.”

Cohort members in the 11-month program will attend twice-monthly training sessions covering an integrated and project-based curriculum meant to empower them with strategies for developing a “STEM habit of mind” in their classrooms.

Butler’s College of Education will serve as the primary home for the new academy.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Zoo will provide curriculum resources and memberships to teachers in the program.

Indianapolis-based Codelicious, a company that develops computer science curriculum for K-12, will provide direct instruction preparing program participants to take the Indiana Computer Science Licensure exam.

The grant-funded program is free for participants. Applications for the first cohort open in December and training begins in February.