STEM Early College Expansion Project (SECEP)
The National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools and Teaching (NCREST), a research center at Teachers College, Columbia University, leads the STEM Early College Expansion Partnership (SECEP). Our goal is to engage students in early college experiences as well as to improve STEM education in participating districts in Michigan and Connecticut. Over five years, SECEP strives to improve both college readiness and STEM education for 22,000 high-need middle and high school students, decreasing drop-out rates and boosting college enrollment. SECEP also will improve underrepresented populations’ access to STEM careers by increasing the number of students enrolling in dual credit STEM courses and pursuing postsecondary credentials. This will be accomplished through targeted professional development, coaching, and ongoing support.
About the participating organizations
NCREST leads SECEP, in partnership with Jobs for the Future (JFF), the Middle College National Consortium (MCNC), and school districts in Connecticut and Michigan.
The project is made possible through support from the US Department of Education Investing in Innovations (I3) Validation Grant, as well as other funders and supporters.
The Early College model – validated through rigorous study as significantly increasing the success of underrepresented and high-need students in demanding college-preparatory programs of study – blends high school and college coursework in a supportive environment to set many more students on a clear path to college and career success. In the partner districts – the Bridgeport Public Schools in Connecticut, and Genesee, Washtenaw, Delta-Schoolcraft, and Lapeer County Intermediate School Districts in Michigan – SECEP will scale STEM Early College designs that significantly increase the success of underrepresented and high-need students in demanding programs of study by:
- Implementing the STEM Early College design, grounded in the early-middle college high school model. The design includes a rigorous college-ready curriculum combined with extensive academic and personal supports from peers and adults to help students achieve success in college preparatory and college courses, with an emphasis on STEM fields of study.
- Delivering STEM- related professional development and coaching to improve the effectiveness of middle school, high school, and college teachers through activities that build STEM and pedagogical content knowledge. SECEP will provide support for collaborative learning and using strategies such as problem-based learning, through which students apply their STEM content knowledge to the design of solutions.
- Developing leadership and key partnerships to fully implement the STEM Early College design. SECEP will help district and college leadership to align current professional development programs, school improvement initiatives, and resources with schools’ implementation of a STEM Early College design. In addition, SECEP will assist schools and colleges to form strong partnerships to facilitate shared responsibility for and collaboration in planning and professional development.
The SECEP core principles are:
- High School - College Collaboration
- College Focused Academic Designs and Instruction
- Student Academic and Social/Emotional Support
- Culture of Continuous Improvement
- Integrated STEM Education
For more information, contact Elisabeth Barnett, Barnett@tc.edu.