If the term "STEM" still brings botany to mind, you must have been living under a rock for the past few years (send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org!).
STEM -- the hottest acronym since ROFL -- stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the supposed main food groups of education that President Obama says are "essential to America's success."
Virginia's Department of Education put money on that claim last week when it awarded more than $2.7 million in grants to enhance teachers' knowledge of and classroom skills in the STEM subject areas.
Seventeen partnerships between school divisions, colleges and universities were given the awards, which is part of a competitive math and science partnership grant competition announced last October.
The grants -- authorized by The No Child Left Behind Act -- will fund in-service training for STEM teachers and create professional development programs tied to the 2010 Science Standards of Learning (SOL).
School divisions are expected to begin introducing new and revised content from the 2010 science standards this fall. By 2012-13, all SOL science tests will be based exclusively on the content of the revised standards, according to the department's website.
"Teacher content knowledge is a critical component of effective instruction," Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia Wright said in a release. "Knowledgeable and confident teachers are essential to prepare students for postsecondary studies and STEM-related careers."
If that's the case, STEM investment will certainly come up roses. Click here to learn more about the White House's " Educate to Innovate" campaign for STEM education.