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STEM program at UH aims to transform teachers, connect students to science via culture


Sergio Arjon, a 31-year-old biology teacher at Lamar High School in Houston, will graduate from a unique program in August. He’s become a better teacher, one who can relate to his students, by learning how to given them hands-on and personalized lessons.

The program — formally titled Enhancing STEM Teacher Leadership Through Equity and Advocacy Development, or LEAD Houston for short — focuses on “culturally responsive teaching,” a student-focused teaching philosophy that makes learning more relatable and engaging for students from diverse cultural backgrounds and educational experiences.

Arjon said he originally applied for the accelerated program to strengthen and better deliver content to students.

“I was always thinking of ways that I could get those students on board and have everyone involved,” he said, but when he got into the program, he got more than what he expected.

The University of Houston launched the innovative master’s program to transform “racially, culturally and linguistically diverse” secondary teachers into leaders in Houston school districts where the demand for science, technology, engineering and math education is high, and the student population is diverse, and often, underrepresented.

The 14-month program, funded by the National Science Foundation, aims to equip 30 STEM teachers with professional development and instructional coaching. They in turn will share learned techniques and knowledge of public policy with colleagues as “teacher-leaders” and advocates for change on the local, state and national level, said Mariam Manuel, an instructional assistant professor at UH.

Read more at The Houston Chronicle