National Center for STEM Elementary Education

The National Center for STEM Elementary Education (NCSEE) was launched in 2010 with the vision to transform the way STEM education is delivered at the elementary level.

Students in classrooms with teachers who have completed the NCSEE STEM Certificate demonstrate increased interest and abilities in STEM content.

Leaders in Promoting and Expanding STEM Education

We are the first institution of higher education in the country to

  • Require that all elementary education majors complete a STEM certificate program to receive a teaching license
  • Develop an engineering course specifically for elementary education majors
  • Focus on the intentional content enrichment and rigor of the STEM courses being taken by our licensure candidates

Teaching K–8 Teachers

Our programs help practicing K–8 teachers and teacher candidates become confident, competent and comfortable in teaching STEM subjects and integrating them into their daily classroom activities.

Women and STEM at St. Kate's

Headquartered at St. Catherine University, we are uniquely positioned to foster girls’ and women’s proficiency in — and comfort with — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. At the heart of the University is the nation’s largest undergraduate college for women. We are experts in how women learn best.

Master's and Graduate Certificates in STEM

If you are an elementary teacher, you know that soon you may need to be teaching your young charges engineering and technology concepts. Some states already include these concepts in their state education standards. Others are in the process of adding them. Are you ready?

Custom Programs of Study focusing on STEM and Computational Thinking

One size fits all doesn’t work for students in P-12 schools—why would it work for the schools and teachers within? That is why St. Kate’s has developed a flexible program that offers our learners a choice to build a program of study that meets their unique learning needs. Components that can be customized in our STEM or Technology Integration programs of study include

  • Courses at the graduate or PD level, for individuals or cohorts
  • 12-credit certificates that can be completed in two terms, as well as stand-alone course options
  • Certificates that align perfectly with our MAED options for students who want to continue their learning
  • Fully online courses, as well as hybrid options that include four bi-weekly Saturday meetings on the St. Paul campus
  • Hands-on STEM activities for students at all levels integrated throughout our curriculum in courses that focus on science, engineering, makerspaces, computer science, and digital video production
  • Highly scaffolded learning experience for teachers—we have a 97% retention and completion rate, yet our program reviews emphasize the rigor of our coursework. We expect our students to grow deeper content-specific knowledge, as well as to learn how to learners with pedagogy aligned to disciplinary practices.

For schools wanting to develop a cohort model additional STEM integration practices are available.

  • We can review your program’s existing STEM curriculum and teacher practices to identify optimum ways to improve your school’s STEM success, given what's already in place
  • Options for support and mentoring from St. Kate’s faculty throughout the academic year
  • On-site PD or coursework

MA and Certificates for Licensed Educators

Training and Educating Engaged Teachers

St. Catherine University has a long and respected history of producing effective, successful elementary educators. To put it plainly: we know teaching.

That knowledge has informed the development of the National Center for STEM Elementary Education to improve teacher effectiveness, advance student performance, strengthen STEM literacy and increase individual candidate appeal in competitive job markets.

STEM Center faculty can join your teachers in their classrooms, serving as mentors and continuing to build confidence over time.

STEM Certificate and STEM: MAED graduates report increased efficacy in STEM instruction; improved understanding of how to integrate STEM processes, concepts, and vocabulary across their curriculum; and widespread appreciation of the hands-on activities they learn to bring directly to their students for integrating STEM into their background knowledge and identities. Coursework leads faculty to effectively integrate technology into their practices for assessment, instruction, and quality improvement practices.

Available Topics

  • Citizen Science: engage your students in real scientific investigations that are based in your own community and connected to standards
  • Using the outdoors to teach STEM: Science, technology, engineering, and math are everywhere. Find out how you can use the environment as a context for teaching and get your students excited to learn
  • STEM for early childhood: Teachers of young children know that they have specific needs. Learn how to teach STEM in developmentally appropriate ways that are engaging and supportive of young learners.
  • Technology Integration: This course is for teachers who wish to integrate technology in the classroom. Topics will include finding and using educational apps, 1:1 integration, and more.
  • Physics of Music: Learn about vibration, sound, and the engineering of musical instruments and how to connect music to STEM learning.
  • STEM Integration: STEM doesn’t happen by accident. Learn the basics of STEM and how to better articulate cross-curricular connections to make STEM come to life for your students while still meeting standards
  • Literacy and STEM: Geared for K-4 educators, use children's literature as jumping-off points for scientific investigation and exploration.
  • Science Inquiry: Explore the cycle of inquiry and learn how to create effective inquiry-based experiences for your students.
  • Using Science and Engineering Notebooks to support Language Arts: Science notebooks and journals are great, but do they really deepen student learning? How do teachers assess learning through notebooks and journals? You’ll construct and use notebooks in a variety of ways to enhance STEM learning.

Optional additional follow-up support is provided and may include coaching, online discussion groups, facilitation of professional learning communities, and consulting depending on your needs.

EcoSTARS: Students, Teachers, and Real Science

EcoSTARS, Students, Teachers, and Real Science, is an exciting field experience with an environmental education focus for teacher candidates at St. Catherine University. All school sites are environmental education magnet schools. EcoSTARS teacher candidates teach about the environment through the lens of math, science, and social studies.

EcoSTARS seasonal lessons and Citizen Science projects

We are committed to furthering best-practice models in STEM education to include

  • Work with schools and school districts to design STEM lessons into their curricula
  • Work with elementary teachers and specialists to integrate STEM curricula to meet state standards
  • Develop a plan for integrating computational thinking and coding across their curriculum
  • Furthering gender equitable teaching strategies by STEM and CTE teachers