Educators gain training through MVSU NASA CRT Institute

December 15, 2017

ITTA BENA, Miss.— A group of local educators are now better equipped to deal with students from diverse cultural backgrounds after participating in a unique training offered by Mississippi Valley State University. 

MVSU recently hosted a NASA Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) Institute for 13 local K-12 educators, pre-service teachers, higher education faculty and informal educators.

As a member of the NASA MSI Emerging Stars Network, MVSU was selected as a sub-award recipient through Texas State University’s NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative (EPDC).

Funds from the grant were used to help support the institute, designed to offer professional development to train educators on innovative, high-impact approaches.

Dr. Latonya Garner, chair of the Department of Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences (MCIS), said the participants learned to respect and be more sensitive to their students’ cultural differences and how they learn. 

“The NASA CRT Institute was very beneficial for the community and Mississippi Valley State University,” said Garner. CRT is a teaching method that involves understanding and focusing on a student's cultural background. A person's culture can have a big impact on how they learn.”

Throughout the institute, facilitated by MVSU Assistant Professor of MCIS Dr. Candace Carter-Stevens, participants were actively engaged in learning the importance of integrating CRT in mathematics and science while using Nearpod, KAHOOT, and NASA’s STOMP ROCKET activity. 

“I enjoyed this institute because it was interactive and engaging,” said Carter-Stevens, who also serves as principal investigator for the NASA STEM EPDC.

“The Institute provided participants with resources to enhance their teaching of STEM subjects as aligned to their state or national standards, best practices in STEM instruction, and sound CRT approaches.”

The NASA MSI Emerging Stars Network is a partnership between the NASA Educator Professional Development Collaborative (EPDC) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) to enrich STEM teacher preparation through NASA professional development opportunities and educational resources.

To learn more about the collaborative, visit