Expanding Access

Commitment to Rural and Urban School Partnerships

The IPaSS Partnership Program seeks to address two related trends through its implementation: that physics teacher under-preparation and out-of-field teaching are most prevalent in rural and urban school districts serving high percentages of low-income students, and that students in such districts may miss out on impactful early exposure to quality physics curricula in their high school years. For schools that do not have sufficient budget for up-to-date physics lab equipment, or schools that simply do not offer advanced physics courses due to a lack of staffing or expertise, the IPaSS curriculum and its adjacent teacher (PD) course offer districts the opportunity to develop programming.

A central push for IPaSS is to form relationships with rural and urban schools throughout the state. U of I Physics will consider IPaSS to be a success if it can: 

  • broaden access to quality physics curricula in rural and urban schools throughout the state  
  • make pathways into STEM fields more visible and viable for students in these districts, such that we eventually see students from a wider range of schools attending U of I and  
  • provide a wide peer and institutional support network for physics teachers (who are often "departments of one" at their schools, or teaching out of field).