ROBBINSVIILLE,, NJ -- As students head back to school this week, one Robbinsville teacher has already spent a great deal of time in the classroom.   

Teachers from across New Jersey came together two weeks ago to start the first cohort of the New Jersey STEM Innovation Fellowship in the Center for Environmental and Life Sciences at Montclair State University. Local Robbinsville elementary school teacher Dana Wilson, was chosen to be a part of this stellar group of educators. 

“New Jersey has some of the best public school teachers in the nation, who are committed to helping students reach their greatest potential,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “This Math for America pilot will help teachers implement new, STEM-based teaching practices and will enable them to further provide our children with the skills they need to prosper in the innovation economy.”

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The New Jersey STEM Innovation Fellowship is a new teacher-leadership program developed by Math for America, with feedback and support from key stakeholders including the Murphy Administration, the New Jersey Department of Education and JerseyCAN, an advocacy group that supports equitable access to STEM education for students. Faculty and staff from Montclair State's Professional Resources in Science and Mathematics (PRISM) program will lead the initiative -- a partnership with Princeton University and Rowan University -- to power statewide innovation in STEM education from the ground up. 

Wilson is entering her fifth year at Sharon Elementary School where she currently teaches fourth grade.  Ms. Wilson also serves our district as an Instructional Mathematics Coach.  She supports her colleagues with professional development, models best practices, and provides resources that enable her colleagues stay up to date on current strategies related to teaching and learning. 

"Ms. Wilson is a passionate educator who engages her students in challenging and rewarding learning opportunities. In her elementary classroom, Dana communicates high expectations for all of her students," said Dr. Kathie Foster, superintendent of the Robbinsville School District.  "Utilizing exemplary hands-on, minds-on experiences, Dana encourages her students to construct their own knowledge and challenges them to make meaningful connections to the real world. 

"Multiple opportunities are designed for students to work cooperatively and take full ownership in the learning process. As you can see, we are truly grateful to have such an innovative teacher and inspiring school leader for the students and staff in Robbinsville," added Foster.

August 22 was the first day of the NJ STEM Innovation Fellowship's Summer Institute. This program was announced in January for public school elementary math teachers throughout New Jersey to help them learn about and implement innovative teaching practices to enhance students' problem-solving skills. The institute will be followed by monthly workshops at MFA's partners Montclair State University, Princeton University, and Rowan University.

"We are delighted to support outstanding teachers by launching the New Jersey STEM Innovation Fellowship in partnership with leading universities," said Dr. John Ewing, President of Math for America. "We hope this program will serve as a model for other states."

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