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Education & Issues

How Appalachia's Leading STEM Educators Are Preparing Students for the Jobs of the Future

We're recognizing some of Appalachia's most promising STEM educators and the impact they're achieving in the classroom, thanks to the support of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK).

By The TFA Editorial Team

October 24, 2018

Since 2012, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK) has invested in the students of eastern Kentucky through grants to Teach For America—Appalachia. Their funds contribute to the recruitment, training, and support of STEM teachers in Appalachia and have enabled remarkable results in these classrooms. Due to the severe scarcity of science and math‐qualified applicants, over half of our teachers are placed in these subjects. Many of our teachers create higher level and advanced placement courses in math and science, expanding students’ opportunities to pursue 21st century jobs.

Read more to learn about Appalachia's leading STEM educators and how they're achieving impact in the classroom.

Rebecca Green (‘16)

Rebecca’s algebra and geometry students at Lawrence County High School achieved between 7‐10 points of growth on the NWEA MAP assessment (approximately four years of growth), doubling the district goal. She innovates utilizing the Google Classroom platform, and students routinely apply concepts to projects like designing a city, building kites, and budgeting. All freshmen in her course are exposed to ACT practice questions.

Amanda Lonaker (‘16)

Students in Amanda’s Algebra I course at Lynn Camp High School blew away district goals for content vocabulary mastery, hitting 400% of their goal by the end of the school year. She consistently teaches with a strong emphasis on foundational skills and math practices.

Robert Martin‐Sullivan (‘16)

While teaching at Allen Central High School, students in Robert’s course achieved an average of 3.36 points of growth on the science portion of the ACT—the most rapid growth in the school’s recent history. This past year at Floyd Central High School, Robert crafted interactive lessons to help students budget for college and estimate their ACT score based on math coursework, and routinely reminded them fundamental numeracy and logic skills can make them powerful mathematicians and problem solvers regardless of their preferred field.

Taylor Eanes (‘14)

Taylor contributed to the highest ACT scores in Sheldon Clark High School's history, and her students (Algebra II and Geometry) have achieved an average of two years of growth in one school year. Her students routinely outscore the students in advanced math courses each year.

Christin Roberson (‘15)

In addition to integrated science and AP environmental science, Christin teaches aerospace classes at Sheldon Clark High School as her school works to create a career pathway in this area. Kentucky is a top aerospace product exporter in the US. Christin is a regional pioneer in leading the transition to next generation science standards.

We echo Christin in her sentiments about the importance of STEM when she says, “I believe this future economy ‐ of which aerospace is a strong component—is one that will take part in the greatest economic turnaround this country has ever seen.” STEM teachers are empowering students to create transform Appalachia. We deeply appreciate Toyota’s investment in the potential of our teachers and students.