July 10, 2024
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A Big Opportunity for Public School Teachers: The NJ DOE’s ‘Teach STEM Classes in Nonpublic Schools’ Program

One of the best parts of my job is when a student-built robot glides across the room for the first time. The whole class explodes into jumps, cheers and high-fives. After weeks of programming and problem-solving, they get to say “I did it” and it feels like they won a grand prize.

These days, understanding STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math is more than just a prize. It’s a necessity. The future of our economy depends on STEM experts. Getting a head start on STEM skills, including critical thinking, innovation, teamwork and project management will help the students of today become the sought-after professionals of tomorrow.

Sharing my passion for STEM with future generations is one of the reasons I teach in the Livingston Public School system. As a participant in the New Jersey DOE’s Teach STEM Classes in Nonpublic Schools Program, I’ve had the opportunity to teach and inspire students in both public and nonpublic schools.

Through this program, the NJ Department of Education pays public school STEM-subject teachers to teach in nonpublic schools. I get paid for doing more of something I already love doing. That’s where the advantages start—but certainly not where they end.

In addition to the extra teaching and extra pay, this program offers me creativity and flexibility, as well as a whole new community of support. These are opportunities I would miss out on completely if I taught only in public school.

I spend my morning and early afternoon at Livingston High School as a technology education teacher. My classes there include engineering, architecture and graphic design. I also coach the robotics team and advise the civil engineering club. It’s a full day, but I know I can give more.

In the later afternoons, I transition to the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School, where I teach robotics. I collaborate with the Kushner team to develop the curriculum, which gives me the flexibility to tailor what I teach to the needs and interests of my students, as well as my own. The students I’ve taught are highly motivated and willing to work above and beyond. The facility, including our lab, is highly sophisticated, and the resources are extensive and advanced. I have everything I need to teach well, and the students make tremendous strides.

I am so grateful to the Kushner school for welcoming me and wholeheartedly embracing me as a member of the school community. Along with the smiles and encouragement, the relationships I’ve built with colleagues throughout the school, with parents and, of course, with my students, makes a significant work experience even more meaningful.

Becoming a part of the state’s program is a decision I have never looked back on. When I started, I was one of just a handful of teachers in the program. This past year, about 20 public school teachers taught in 13 different nonpublic schools across New Jersey. This program will continue to grow. If you’re interested, applications for the 2022-23 school year are due in March. I highly encourage any eligible teacher in New Jersey to jump aboard.

Learn more about the NJDOE’s Jersey STEM Initiative, including eligibility, salary and educational requirements. Visit Teach NJ’s webpage for more information.


Jeanne Ziobro is a technology education teacher at Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School and Livingston Public Schools.

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