PRISM front office

Bristol-Myers Squibb Center for Science Teaching and Learning

The Center has implemented several large-scale reform projects, including e-CUSP, a project funded by the Math-Science Partnerships Program of the US Department of Education and the NJ DOE.

The Center is dedicated to professional development for teachers and strategic planning for school district administrators. A generous donation from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Corporate Philanthropy program made it possible to build the facility and furnish it with state-of-the-art equipment and materials for professional development in mathematics and science. The example below illustrates one model used in PRISM applications of educational research to school improvement.

See the feature article, Bristol-Myers Squibb Centers for Science Teaching and Learning helping school districts prepare to implement Next Generation Science Standards. Specifically, we work to help school districts in New Jersey prepare to implement the Next Generation Science Standards.

NGSS 2018 – 2019 Math and Science Workshops
Bristol-Myers Squibb STEM Team Awards

Brisol-Myers Squibb STEM Team Awards


STEM Professional Development Award Opportunity

The Bristol-Myers Squibb awards enabled schools to send teams of teachers to a Bristol-Myers Squibb two-week (six days, 30 PD hours) program. The Summer Institute focused on strategies to teach to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and enable teachers to incorporate Workplace Skills into their STEM curriculum. These combined foci are designed to support student learning for success in the workplace.

Fifty-six teachers from 11 districts attended the summer institute for grades 3-6.  They will continue to be supported throughout the school year.  In the planning stages are follow-up institutes during summer 2015.

Creative University-School Partnerships (CUSP)

Creative University-School Partnerships (CUSP)


The NJDOE awarded Montclair State University/PRISM a three-year Math Science Partnership grant to fund the improvement of mathematics education which is in alignment with the Common Core. Approximately 70 teachers representing seven districts (Bloomfield, Butler, Clifton, Kearny, Montclair, Orange and Paramus) will be provided professional development either through a two-week, Grades 5-8 Mathematics Summer Institute or by enrolling in the Teaching Middle Grades Mathematics Certificate program at MSU.


Montclair State University partnered with 19 school districts to address multiple challenges to teaching and learning through re-tooling the teacher workforce. The lead agency, the College of Science and Mathematics, has a proven track record in STEM research and teaching, as well as in K12 professional development. Districts in Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic, Sussex and Union counties were targeted for their needs.

The project budget of $592,000 for the first year funded teacher stipends, a summer institute, outreach staff, STEM faculty workshops and evaluation activities. The project will impact 180 teachers and an estimated 9,000 students over three years. Three project cohorts comprised of 60 K12 teachers from multiple grades will join intensive summer experiences, 70 hrs, followed by on-going professional development during the school year for 50 hours of workshops and 32 hours of coaching. The project budget will provide 152 hours of professional development to every participant. A vision and primary goal is that districts will sustain teams of teachers as leaders in STEM teaching. MSU staff will invigorate scholarship in teaching by facilitating Professional Learning Communities in every district. An electronic community will share pedagogical content knowledge, disseminate curriculum materials, provide resources in STEM content, reinforce models of best practices and achieve the goal of technology integration.

The goal to increase teacher content knowledge will be reached through activities that model effective teaching strategies. Direct interaction with STEM research faculty as mentors will support this goal. STEM faculty will be active members of the professional development teams in the summer institute and in school year follow up. Outreach to schools by STEM master teachers will reinforce classroom practices and raise student achievement.

Embedded evaluation will provide outcome measures. All teachers will be tested before and after the summer institute with validated content tests to fine-tune professional development plans and produce research data. Comparison groups will be recruited for a quasi-experimental design, taking the same tests, and later joining cohort 3. Students will be tested with NAEP items in a randomized sampling of treated classes. Data from project tests and state tests will be analyzed to measure the outcomes of the project.

Elementary Creative University-School Partnerships (e-CUSP)

Elementary Creative University-School Partnerships (e-CUSP)


E-CUSP is an on-going comprehensive project that addresses educational needs using research findings from past math and science reform successes to design the program. Research shows that consistency of pedagogical approach followed by supervised application in the classroom is a key factor in success. The e-CUSP Academy offers content knowledge development for teachers in carefully designed experiences that model effective constructivist methodologies.

E-CUSP is a partnership of a research and teaching university with a diverse group of districts in five counties: Bergen, Essex, Sussex, Union and Passaic. E-CUSP partners form a representative cross-section of New Jersey communities, including three “high needs” LEA’s.

  • 28 school districts
  • Grades 3 and 4
  • Cohort 1 comprised of 60 teachers in an intensive summer experience (two weeks)
  • Professional development courses during the 2007-8 school year
  • Pre/post-testing of teachers and their students
  • Matched comparison group of teachers and students
  • New Jersey ASK statewide test results gathered for project evaluation
  • In-class coaching visits
  • STEM faculty mentoring
  • Cohort 2 comprised of 42 teachers who attended a four-week (12-Day) summer institute
  • By end of Year Three, e-CUSP Academy will have impacted 144 teachers and their 5,000 students

Impact on Teachers

Teacher gains in content knowledge in mathematics and science during the summer institutes were significant. In Year One, 41 out of the 59 teachers (70%) who took both the pre-test and the post-test at the beginning and end of the two-week institute showed significant gains. In Year Two, 36 out of 42 (86%) of participant teachers showed significant gains after the redesigned four-week institute. The second cohort had a mean pre-test score of 82%, compared with 87% for the first cohort; however, both groups finished at the same level with mean scores of 97%.

The project staff identified and tested matched comparison teachers using the same test that was used with participants. The criteria for selection of a matched teacher were ranked accordingly: same grade level taught, similar years of teaching experience, same district and same school. The 55 matched comparison teachers showed no significant difference between their pre-test results and the pre-test results of the treated teachers, indicating that the match of the comparison sample is a good fit. The comparison group showed no significant gains between their pre- and post-tests, supporting the conclusion that the treatment provided for the participant teachers is effective in increasing content knowledge. Furthermore, the student data below show a “flow-through” of benefits to the students of participant teachers. The Montclair State University project was the only such project in New Jersey that resulted in significant impact on the achievement of students of participant teachers.

Impact on Students

Pre-Test / Post-test Results: 3rd grade students: Out of 524 students from the classes of participant teachers, 457 took both the pre-and post-tests and 310 or 68% showed significant gains in content knowledge in the math/science tests.

4th grade students: Out of 544 students of participant teachers, 481 took both the pre-and post-tests and 368 (76%) showed significant gains in content knowledge in math/science.

The comparison teachers’ students showed less frequent gains in their test performances than the students of teachers in the participant group. Out of 425 tested 3rd grade comparison students, only 49% showed significant gains. Out of 489 4th grade comparison students, only 52% showed significant gains.

Statewide Test Results

The NJ ASK results were gathered for students of participant teachers. The math scores showed that 92% of all students in both grades were proficient or better in both mathematics and science on the 2008 tests. The only statewide data available online from the NJDOE for project use was from 2007. The statewide proficiency level was 87% in 3rd grade math, 85% in 4th grade math, and 83% in 4th grade science. These scores are consistent with the 2008 test scores of a sample of comparison classes. The conclusion is that the treatment was highly effective in improving success of students in both grade levels and both subjects, but 4th grade science students benefited the most.