Worldfund seeks to increase its efforts in science and math teacher training programs in the state of São Paulo by impacting 200 new teachers and consequently 20,000 students by 2014. STEM Brasil will bring to life science and math instruction to public schools in São Paulo by training, empowering, and supporting a network of innovative science and math educators who work together to create lasting and sustainable change in their classrooms. This program is a two-year, 180-hour course that trains São Paulo public high school science and math teachers. In 2013, STEM Brasil operated in 47 schools in São Paulo and expects to bring the program to approximately 20 additional local public schools in 2014.
The activities used in the training are built upon the state-mandated curriculum to promote the use of project-based learning methods, and include a 21st Century skills component that contributes to success in the workplace. The training includes 96 hours of in-person training in the first year, 48 hours of follow-up workshops in the second year, and 36 hours of online participation in the Virtual Learning Community (CAV). Worldfund trainers visit all participating schools in both years of the program to observe teachers over the course of several hours and offer continued in-person support and mentorship. Worldfund provides local governments, particularly the state Secretary of Education, with cutting edge tools and know-how in order to plan, organize, coordinate, and monitor the program and its results. In its continuous effort to increase the quality of education, Worldfund provides best practices expertise in the following areas: science, math, technology, 21st century skills and teacher training services. The innovative methodology and pertinent activities are designed to permanently influence teachers and the community, both of which will reap the benefits of the program long after the training sessions have finished.
In 2014, STEM Brasil will conduct four training sessions totaling 96 in-person hours for 200 teachers, followed by individual school visits, one in the first quarter and one in the second quarter. In 2015, STEM Brasil will conduct two follow up in-person training sessions totaling 48 hours for 200 teachers, followed by individual school visits, one in the second quarter and one in the third quarter.
The key driver to this program's success is investing solidly in its corps of trainers who focus on human development. Therefore, all Worldfund trainers embody two important characteristics: 1) top-notch math and science credentials and a comfort level in performing practical work, and 2) the ability to inspire teachers and to awaken in them a renewed sense of civic responsibility and accountability for their students' learning outcomes. In order to support STEM Brasil's expansion, three new trainers have been hired and trained during 2013 in order to support the current roster of five existing São Paulo STEM Brasil trainers; at least one for each subject area, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Math. The new trainers will attain professional status by assisting the lead STEM Brasil trainers in the second semester of 2013 teacher training workshops, for a total of 48 hours (minimum) of teacher training workshops. All of the original trainers received intensive training of 96 hours in three different modules, one in São Paulo and two in Recife, where they learned to apply the methodology performed using 144 activities that they use to train the teachers.
Brazilian science and math students are among the bottom 10% in the world (PISA 2009). The Brazilian education system is currently unable to produce enough skilled labor to ensure the country's sustainable growth and there is a high demand for skilled workers that is not adequately met, particularly in technology.
Worldfund began operations in Brazil in August 2009 with the mission to empower and support science and math teachers who currently teach in public schools by establishing a STEM Brasil pilot project in Pernambuco. The program consists of teacher training workshops that employ project-based learning activities for science and math subjects, both of which are crucial areas that can help in the economic and social development of students. STEM Brasil's work is based on the national curriculum and aims at enhancing it with practical activities and experiments that exemplify how science and math concepts can be applied to the students' day to day life, bringing relevance to the theoretical lessons that are taught in the classroom. It provides the tools to assist students and adequately prepare them for the 21st century workplace by relating activities to specific professions and technical jobs and emphasizing the use of technology and soft skills. STEM Brasil has trained 630 teachers to date, impacting the lives of 60,000 students and now Worldfund seeks to expand its influence in the São Paulo state school system, thus contributing to significant education reform in Brazil.