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“New Jersey approach” earns international award


New Jersey Center for Teaching & Learning honored for science initiative

Published on Wednesday, May 25, 2011

At a time when many policymakers fret about American students’ lagging math and science scores, national experts are holding up the “New Jersey approach” to math and science instruction as the new international standard.

On May 20, a panel of global experts selected the New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) as a Gold Award winner in a worldwide education competition at the Learning Impact Awards in Long Beach, California. The Center was one of 14 international finalists, of which only four were from the United States.

The award recognized the Center’s Progressive Science Initiative (PSI) and Progressive Mathematics Initiative (PMI) programs for their impact on student learning and teacher training.

“Educators from all over the world want to meet with us to learn how to implement the ‘New Jersey approach’ in their countries,” explained NJCTL trustee Peggy Stewart, who made the award-winning presentation.

“While we are proud to have international recognition, we are most proud of the fact that we are helping to improve science and math instruction for thousands of students in high-risk areas,” she added.

Earlier today, representatives from the Center appeared before the Joint Committee on the Public Schools to share the successes of the PSI.

A bill passed by the Legislature in 2009 made it possible for NJCTL and Kean University to develop the Progressive Science Initiative Teacher Endorsement Program, which allows current teachers to earn endorsements in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, all areas of great need, particularly in urban public schools such as Newark, Jersey City, and Paterson. The program has been highly successful. Students are enrolling in Advanced Placement science courses and taking Advanced Placement exams in unprecedented numbers.

Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-27) noted that as a state we need to “shine a light on the positive things happening at the Center for Teaching and Learning.” She said that the Center proves that “educators have the answers we need” when it comes to school reform.

CTL Executive Director Bob Goodman explained, “Prior to the Center’s inception in 2007, most professional development took a top-down approach. The Center turns it upside down – teachers lead the way.”

CTL is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization, governed by a board made up of leaders in education, business and philanthropy. It was founded by the New Jersey Education Association in 2007. Its mission is to empower teachers to be leaders in the transformation of public schools so that all students have access to a high quality education. For more information, visit