$1.2 Million NSF Grant to Fund Future Mathematics Teachers

MILLERSVILLE, Pa., Oct. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --High-need inner-city and rural schools in Pennsylvania will receive more and better-prepared mathematics teachers, thanks to a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for mathematics education students at Millersville University of Pennsylvania.  The grant, "Increasing the Quality and Quantity of Mathematics Teachers for High-Need Districts," is for $1,199,469, and will fund the mathematics department's newly developed Noyce Scholars program. Approximately 84 percent of the money will go directly to student scholarships.

"There is a great need for science and math teachers in particular in inner-city schools," said Dr. Robert T. Smith, dean of the School of Science and Mathematics at Millersville.  "This grant will allow us to address inequities in public education by introducing a diverse group of high achievers into districts with severe teacher shortages. Our students will be able to make an impact on kids, teach in a challenging environment and gain a broader world view."

The program will include specific training and educational opportunities to help teacher candidates to successfully teach in high-need districts, and all of the candidates' field placements will occur in urban settings.

"In an urban setting, teachers have many other considerations other than simply teaching the content," said Dr. Janet A. White, associate professor of mathematics and principal investigator of the University's grant committee. "They often deal with poverty, absent parents, first-generation high school students, and students who truly need strong, positive role models.  Frequently the students are working to support their families, and attendance is sporadic.  Teachers really need to be able to make a connection with the students, make learning more meaningful, and make the most of the time they are there." 

The kind of "high-need" school for which the Noyce program will prepare teachers needn't be in a city, however, White said. It could be any low-income or rural district that has trouble keeping qualified math teachers or making academic progress, White said.

A team of faculty members at Millersville are using this academic year to develop the Noyce program and recruit the first group of scholars to start next year.  After that, White said, Millersville expects to fund about 10 Noyce scholars per year.

Students receiving scholarships must agree that, in exchange for the scholarship, they will teach for two years in a high-need school district for each year of support they receive.

SOURCE Millersville University



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