The New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), a non-profit organization founded by the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) in 2006, is the benefactor of a $500,000 challenge grant offered by NJEA’s national affiliate.
The award-winning organization’s goal is to provide teachers with the tools they need to significantly improve student performance in math and science. The NJEA has provided substantial support to the CTL from its inception.
During a live webcast to education leaders across the country, National Education Association (NEA) President Dennis Van Roekel announced a new NEA initiative to raise significantly student achievement in math and science.
NEA pledged up to $500,000—and committed to help raise an equal amount — to help expand and replicate a successful program of the CTL.
“We are so proud to learn CTL will receive this generous funding boost,” said NJEA President Barbara Keshishian. “It’s gratifying to see what once began as an idea NJEA had to create a non-profit organization to address the growing shortage of math and physics teachers blossom into a model program for districts across the nation.”
Since the Progressive Science Initiative (PSI) began at Bergen County Technical High School, nearly 20 times as many students took the AP Physics exam in 2010 than the state average, and more than 85 schools in New Jersey have adopted the program. The program has placed an average of 30 new physics teachers into New Jersey public schools each of the last three years. Previously, all of New Jersey’s universities combined only produced an average of 10 new physics teachers per year in the last two years.
“We know this program works to help prepare students for 21st-century careers,” said Joyce Powell, a member of NEA’s Executive Committee and chairperson of New Jersey CTL. “We’re anxious to have the opportunity to share what we’ve learned and help states replicate our accomplishments.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are expected to add 2.7 million new jobs by 2018.
The CTL currently cultivates existing, highly qualified teachers to fill science and math teacher shortages. The program graduated 115 new physics and chemistry teachers since it began in 2009 and 24 more are currently enrolled. NEA hopes to raise a total of $1.5 million to extend CTL’s PSI and Progressive Mathematics Initiative (PMI) models throughout the country.
“NJEA believes that teachers should be the leaders in school improvement,” Keshishian continued. “The Center is a remarkable example of what occurs when you let this happen.”
CTL is an independent, non-profit organization currently led by 2006 New Jersey Teacher of the Year Dr. Robert Goodman, who developed the PSI and PMI programs. He is a former science teacher at Bergen County Technical High School in Teterboro and is now the CTL’s executive director.
Goodman joined Van Roekel in Washington, DC, for the announcement and provided viewers with an overview of CTL’s beginnings, its overall goals, and recent successes.
“The NJEA’s support has allowed us to develop an extensive library of free-open source materials for teaching K-12 mathematics and high school science,” said Goodman. “These 47,000 slides and 1,000 documents posted at njctl.org are already being used by teachers across the country. These NEA funds will allow CTL to work directly with teachers in other states to replicate the significant gains we’ve seen in New Jersey.”
Since 2009, more than 85 schools in New Jersey have adopted PSI and PMI. CTL has also provided training for teachers in New York, Colorado, Rhode Island, Gambia, and Argentina.
“Once again, this proves that when it comes to embracing innovative and cutting-edge strategies to help students and schools succeed, the NJEA and its members are the role models leading the way,” Keshishian declared.