Thanks to support provided by DuPont's Fayetteville Works plant, five area school teachers will be able to better help their students by being able to attend this year's SECME (Science, Engineering, Communication, Mathematics, and Enhancement) program. SECME is a strategic alliance designed to renew and strengthen the professional capacity of K-12 educators.
The SECME event, which is hosted at various universities within the United States, gives teachers the opportunity to participate in hands-on learning activities they can take back and use with their students. Activities include: designing and constructing a paper parachute, hot air balloon made of tissue paper, solar energy collector out of empty coffee cans, a cylinder racer, make a clay boat capable of floating 20 paper clips, construct a five-link paper chain that is capable of lifting a coffee can half-full of water and building mousetrap cars, rockets, and building bridges.
In addition to enhancing the teachers' abilities, SECME'S mission includes educating students - with a focus on the under-represented student population - about the fields of engineering, math, and science. The goal is to motivate, mentor students, and empower parents so that all students can learn and achieve at higher levels. The program encourages students to enroll in challenging courses and to pursue degrees in engineering, mathematics, and the sciences. Currently, the SECME program reaches more than 100 (K-12) schools and directly impacts over 2,000 students.
According to Barbara Knight, senior human resources specialist at the Fayetteville Works site, DuPont and SECME have been partners for many years. "The program provides an opportunity for our local teachers to receive professional development and learn new teaching strategies for today's youth," she said. "It's important for DuPont to support a strong science and math base program and develop SECME networks in our local communities. Seventy percent of our employees are hired from our local community."
Through SECME, students can take advantage of the resources the program has to offer to better prepare for middle school and high school. With the under-representation of minorities in the fields of Engineering, Math and Science, the importance of student participation in SECME can't be overemphasized.
"The philosophy of our school system is based on the belief that all students can be successful in doing math and science," said (school system rep). "When students participate in SECME, they not only get an exposure to various careers in such field but also gain critical problem solving skills that aid in the development of their intellect. It is therefore incumbent for teachers to encourage students to participate in SECME. All students have the same potential to learn if provided the opportunity and encouragement. SECME strives to meet community, students, teachers and parents' needs."