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Addressing Today's Education Challenges, Opportunities and Qualms

Being an educator has always been challenging. There never seems to be enough resources or time. The knowledge and skills required for students to succeed now are vastly different than those necessary in the past.
Each phase of the pandemic has exacerbated the situation. There’s a shortage of teachers, substitutes and other school staff, creating logistical issues for many schools. Teachers and administrators have been forced to add managing social and mental health strains and adapting to virtual learning techniques to an already overflowing plate — all leading to significant stress.
Virtual learning, the toll of illness and death and disruptions to routine have left students academically behind — particularly students of color and those from low-income families. For example, a 2021 McKinsey & Co. study found schools with majority-Black populations were five months behind pre-pandemic levels, compared with majority-white schools, which were two months behind.
Behavior problems ranging from the inability to focus in class to deadly gun violence have raised anxiety levels in students, teachers and administrators. As a result, many students and teachers say they are emotionally drained, and experts predict schools will be struggling with the fallout for years.
There is no question that educators face many challenges today, but there are also opportunities to be seized. Continue reading to learn about several programs the National Math and Science Initiative offers to help educators and administrators navigate the ever-changing education landscape.


Laying the Foundation

Laying the Foundation delivers year-round hands-on training and small group support through in-person and virtual programming. The program helps teachers of grades six through twelve by building their confidence as subject matter experts and leaders. As a result, teachers can better help students develop their confidence, creativity and problem-solving skills.

College Readiness Program

The College Readiness Program has produced measurable success throughout the nation, increasing college readiness for all enrolled students. With year-round support for an entire school community, the program focuses on math, science and other courses to increase access and achievement across classes that contribute to STEM learning.
Both LTF and CRP are designed to complement each other but can also operate as stand-alone programs. As part of the programs, teachers obtain access to the NMSI Teacher Libraries and Educative Curricula.

NMSI Coaches

NMSI coaches are expert instructional coaches, who are experienced educators with an understanding of teachers’ experiences in the classroom. In addition to supporting teachers with pacing, instruction and content curation, they can save teachers much-needed time by sharing advice, experience and tried-and-true resources.
Working with an NMSI coach provides teachers with instructional strategies to help with challenging content and learning needs. In brief, NMSI coaches serve as mentors, thought partners and teaching friends who understand teaching challenges firsthand.

New Teachers Academy

NMSI’s partnership with CenterPoint Energy and the University of Houston Department of Education supports recent teacher graduates by fostering networks between new teachers, advanced graduate fellows and in-service program alumni.
Each year, the program will enable thirty new teachers to create meaningful, tangible and ongoing support for their first year in the classroom. In addition, the program is designed to inspire confidence in first-year teachers by:

  • Supporting them through seven sessions of professional development, networking and enrichment with real-time tools, classroom supplies and training.

  • Creating a community of practice by engaging UTeach alumni, undergraduate students and Master Teaching Fellows.

  • Integrating culturally responsive teaching practices into STEM training.


High-Quality Professional Development

Equipping educators with the skills and tools they need to improve student outcomes through professional development is one of the many ways NMSI addresses today’s education challenges. The hands-on and peer-to-peer approach to NMSI’s PD reignites teachers’ passion and bolsters their pedagogy skills to empower students to succeed.
Access this free guide offering insights into finding evidence-based PD.

Meeting Challenges and Welcoming Opportunities

Despite the challenges educators face today, there are also opportunities that can pave the way for an exciting future for educators. The programs and support offered by NMSI are designed to meet educators at the intersections where help is needed to become high-quality teachers who deliver better student outcomes.