The Curriculum and Community Enterprise for Restoration Science S.T.E.M. + C Professional Learning Model: Expansion and Enhancement

Lauren Birney, Denise McNamara


Professional Development in the field of education has undergone several shifts in focus. Currently, teacher content
knowledge and the ability to disseminate this knowledge is the focus in professional learning communities. The
importance of creating a thriving STEM workforce in the United States has been promoted for the last decade.
Studies have shown that capturing students’ interest must occur before they enter high school, ideally in the middle
school years (Blotnicky, Franz-Odendaal, French, & Phillip, 2018). Teachers are the conduits for encouraging
students to explore STEM-related career options. Student engagement is piqued when there is a strong real-world
connection to the content being presented. Students find relevance through actual experience with the concepts and
skills incorporated in projects that are community-based. The Curriculum and Community Enterprise for Restoration
Science STEM + C Project is the marriage of these two components. The professional development of the New York
City middle school teachers involved in the CCERS STEM +C Project furnishes these educators with the tools to
stimulate students’ interest by tackling a problem in their local community using STEM-related content and
computational thinking. The hope is that authenticity of the learning experience will entice all students, especially
those under-represented populations in the STEM workforce, to consider this as a viable career pathway. The
analysis of this project is intended to highlight the significant inroads made and the value of self-reflection and
re-design in strengthening the work as it continues.

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Copyright (c) 2019 Lauren Birney, Denise McNamara

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Journal of Curriculum and Teaching ISSN 1927-2677 (Print) ISSN 1927-2685 (Online)  Email:

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