Teacher Tuesdays – Make, Play, Connect offers monthly networking and professional development opportunities through University of Illinois Extension serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria and Tazewell counties in conjunction with community partners. These events allow both, classroom and out-of-school time educators to foster peer-to-peer support while building a learning community around STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) education for our region.

In May, a virtual Teacher Tuesday session will offer information about the Mentor Matching Engine! Developed by the Illinois Science and Technology Institute (ISTI), the Mentor Matching Engine (MME) is an online collaboration tool that connects Illinois high school students and their teachers to STEM mentors. MME allows for long-term engagement with professionals and graduate students in the STEM fields, providing students a line of sight into STEM careers. The platform prioritizes student safety by completing background checks for mentors and placing teachers at the center of the student-mentor relationship.

Educators can discover how to use the Mentor Matching Engine to help their high school students create research projects while connecting them to professionals from all over the country. This Teacher Tuesday session will include a panel discussion with ISTI program manager, local teachers who are currently engaged in the program, and MME students. Professional Development Units will be available for this event.

Caterpillar recognizes the exceptional STEAM development that happens through the Mentor Matching Engine program. They have provided financial support that will assist new high schools/teachers in our region with a portion of the MME enrollment fee for the 2020-2021 school year.

The session will take place on May 5, 2020, at 4:30 p.m. through Zoom. Those interested can register by Monday, May 4, 2020, at http://go.illinois.edu/teachertuesdays to receive a Zoom invitation with password to join this event. Zoom invitations will be sent out via email on the morning of May 5. Though all are welcome to participate in this Teacher Tuesday session, the Mentor Matching program is only available for high school students.

More information is available at https://extension.illinois.edu/fmpt/teacher-tuesdays.