LANSING, Mich., June 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, a fighter pilot, a pastor, a biologist, a sea kayak instructor and others from a variety of backgrounds are rising to meet the challenge of improving the effectiveness of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teaching in the state of Michigan. The 2012 class of W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellows, announced today, includes a diverse group of both recent college graduates and career-changers with strong backgrounds in the STEM fields. In fact, all of the 2012 Fellows majored in a STEM discipline.
Making a commitment to teach for three years, each of the 74 recipients of the highly competitive WKKF-WW Michigan Teaching Fellowship (64 enrolling in 2012 and 10 deferring their enrollment) will receive $30,000 to complete a specially designed, cutting-edge master's degree program preparing them to teach in Michigan's high-need urban and rural secondary schools.
Research from The Education Trust, a Kellogg Foundation grantee, has shown that teacher effectiveness is the most important in-school factor in student achievement and that African-American, Hispanic, Native-American and low-income children of all backgrounds are the least likely to receive highly effective teachers. By preparing and placing first-class math and science teachers in Michigan's most underserved public schools, the WKKF-WW Michigan Teaching Fellowship seeks to provide a solution to this disparity. The program ultimately will provide more than 100,000 students with the level of instruction they need to contribute and thrive in Michigan's rapidly changing economy and workforce.
"We know that teacher effectiveness plays a vital role in student learning outcomes, and we must do all that we can to ensure the best, brightest and most effective teachers are in Michigan classrooms," said Sterling Speirn, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Because improving teacher effectiveness is essential to raising the level of learning for all students, the WKKF launched the statewide program in 2009 with $18 million in support, further reflecting its dedication to innovative education practices. Today, Speirn joined Gov. Rick Snyder and Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, to announce the 2012 class of Fellows, who were selected from a highly competitive pool of more than 2,000 applicants.
"There is no more urgent national need in education than to get strong math and science teachers into our schools, especially high-need urban and rural schools," said Levine. "This year's group of Fellows is impressive—they are passionate about their fields and, most of all, they are committed to helping young people. We are tremendously proud of them, and we're excited to look ahead to their classroom successes. They will change tens of thousands of lives."
The Fellows will attend Eastern Michigan University, Wayne State University, Grand Valley State University, University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Western Michigan University. These universities partner with local school districts where Fellows learn to teach in real classrooms from the beginning of their master's work, just as physicians learn in teaching hospitals. The nine partner districts for these clinical placements, up from seven last year, include Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Detroit, Godfrey-Lee, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Wyoming and Ypsilanti.
"Great teachers and great teaching can make all the difference for our students, their educational growth, future success and quality of life," said Gov. Snyder. "The W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship is making tremendous strides toward the goal of providing children across Michigan access to highly effective educators in these critical subject areas, and I commend this work and look forward to its continued role and achievements."
About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.
The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.
About the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (www.woodrow.org) identifies and develops leaders and institutions to address the critical challenges facing society through education. The Foundation awards fellowships to strengthen human resources, works to improve public policy, and assists organizations in enhancing practice
SOURCE W.K. Kellogg Foundation