Math/Science Partnership (PULSE)

PULSE (the Partnership to Understand and Lead STEM Education) is an action-research project designed to measure the impact of targeted professional development for educators on student proficiency in math and science.

Child in lab

PULSE brings together a dynamic partnership of local colleges, school districts, and community agencies. The partnership provides a unique professional development framework for secondary math, science, and technology-education teachers, helping them deepen their knowledge of STEM content and pedagogy, collaborate as multi-disciplinary STEM teams within their school buildings, share best practices across district boundaries, and learn from local and regional leaders in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.

PULSE is a three-year project, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Mathematics and Science Partnerships (MSP) Program and overseen by the PA Department of Education.

Learn more about PULSE!

Project Activities

Summer: 80-hour STEM Institute

Each summer, secondary math, science, and technology-education teachers gather with their peers from across the region to engage in 80 hours of professional development in STEM content and pedagogy, hosted and facilitated by faculty from local colleges. Over an intensive two-week period, teachers explore content through the theme of “Pennsylvania Agriculture,” taking advantage of the region’s rich resources in farming, engineering, ecology, and the ancillary industries that relate to those fields. “PA Agriculture” and in particular the content areas of agricultural systems, energy conservation and transfer, geometry, measurement, data analysis, and linear inequalities, were chosen as part of a comprehensive regional needs assessment conducted as part of the MSP grant application process.

Teachers attend the Summer STEM Institute as part of an interdisciplinary STEM team from their school; in the first two years of the project, the average size of a STEM team has been 5 people. During the two weeks of the Institute, each school STEM team collaborates to design a multi-disciplinary STEM project for the coming school year that addresses topics explored during the Institute. In addition to working in their school teams, teachers also have opportunities to explore STEM careers, find new “real world” connections and applications of their content, and work with teachers in other districts to share ideas and lessons.

School Year: Instructional Coaching and PLC Work

During the subsequent school year, participating teachers work with the IU13 STEM Consultants in their school groups to implement the STEM projects they designed during the Summer Institute. Teachers can also work with a STEM Consultant individually to introduce new Institute-enhanced knowledge and real-world connections into classrooms, and address issues in STEM teaching or implementation. Throughout the year, IU13 hosts three day-long networking sessions where all teachers meet to reconnect with their peers from the Summer Institutes, and share ideas and resources.

The 2013-14 school year was the first year of the current grant cycle. IU13 staff and partners will continue to develop and refine PULSE through the 2015-16 school year. Details on the future of PULSE will be shared in a timely fashion through communications to participant teachers and district leaders. 

MSP Newsletters

Click the links below for downloadable PDF files of the MSP newsletter, A Steady PULSE.

For more information, call 717-606-1809 or email Math/Science Partnership (PULSE).