STEM Intern Model Highlighting a Year-Long Internship
Authors: Tracy Irish, Holly Bozeman, Shirley Zongker, Dinah Little, George Newberry, Anne Spence

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5. Conclusions

Our overall conclusion is that the year-long STEM Internship model has met many of its goals. The program's strengths and weaknesses are clear. For instance, the full year in the classroom provides a quality and quantity of experience that shorter placements cannot replicate. The interns finish the program with a deeper understanding of the school and the students, and with the ability to "hit the ground running" in the fall. Most interns, lead teachers, colleagues, and administrators believe that the interns are leaving the program well prepared to teach. As well, Praxis I and II scores demonstrate that STEM interns are performing at least on par or slightly better than their traditional MAT student counterparts. In this sense, the program is viable and effective. However, the program does have a few weaknesses. Some lie in the selection or development of the interns and could be altered within the existing program framework. Feedback from interns, mentor teachers, and supervisors indicated that a specific weakness in the elementary program was limited focus and practical application in the area of reading. These specific strengths and weaknesses as well as specific modification to the program throughout the project will be shared.

Altogether, lessons learned from this experimental program provide insights into best practices for pre-service teacher education. The year-long Internship model, multi-tiered levels of support, professional development for all participants, and school-wide efforts for STEM education are all vital components in the development of high-quality STEM teachers. This presentation will provide significant data to support the determination of which components contribute the most to producing and retaining highly qualified teachers.