National Science Foundation Grant Boosts Efforts to Prepare Top-Notch Math and Science Teachers Serving High-Need Schools

Funding Helps Entice STEM Students and Professionals to Pursue Teaching as a Career

The shortage of middle school and high school math and science teachers, particularly in some of the neediest school districts, will be addressed locally as a result of a $634,157 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant awarded to the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education. As part of the Robert Noyce Scholars Program, this award will help encourage and train both talented undergraduate majors in science, technology, mathematics, and engineering (STEM) and STEM professionals considering a career change to work as math and science teachers in the Rochester City School District and other high-need districts across the state.

"This National Science Foundation Noyce Scholars Program will enhance our ability to increase the number of highly-qualified math and science teachers who are committed to and well-prepared to work in underserved school districts," says Raffaella Borasi, dean of the Warner School. "Consistent with the mission of the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program, our ultimate objective is to improve the learning opportunities offered to all students in science and mathematics and especially those in high-need schools."

Over the next three years, a total of 30 Noyce scholars will be able to enroll tuition-free into one of the Warner School's graduate 15-month teacher preparation programs in mathematics or science. Qualifying applicants include undergraduates or recent graduates majoring in STEM programs and STEM professionals who are considering a career change to the teaching profession.

"We are very excited about this grant because it allows us to offer financial assistance to very talented and enthusiastic students and career changers, alike, who are interested in teaching math and science," adds Borasi. "The scholarships provide an incentive for knowledgeable STEM professionals and students to consider and pursue teaching as a career and support these individuals in meeting their goals."

Noyce scholars will have the opportunity to participate in high quality and innovative graduate teacher preparation programs leading to New York State certification to teach in mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, or earth science. For example, Noyce scholars enrolled in the science teacher preparation program will experience inquiry-based science from both learners' and teachers' perspectives by participating in authentic science investigations and teaching reform-based science both in out-of-school and school-based settings. Similarly, scholars in the mathematics teacher preparation program will participate in mathematics education courses and related field experiences that will empower them to teach mathematics with understanding and by capitalizing on high-quality mathematics instructional materials.

Scholarship recipients agree to teach for at least two years in a high-need school district within six years following the completion of their master's program. As part of Warner's long-standing collaboration with the Rochester City School District, all teacher candidates, and thus Noyce Scholars, conduct at least one of their teaching internships in this district.

After graduation, Noyce scholars will receive ongoing support during their first two years of teaching through monthly seminars led by the mathematics and science teacher preparation directors and will have access to high-quality professional development and electronic communications through listservs and blogs.

The Warner School has a long tradition of being a leader in mathematics and science education and reform and the preparation of inquiry-minded teachers, as 31 percent of Warner's math and science students, who have graduated over the last three years, have gone on to teach at urban and high-need schools.

The NSF Robert Noyce Scholars Program is aimed at stemming the loss of mathematics and science teachers in the nation's neediest schools. The scholarship is named for Dr. Robert Noyce, co-founder of Intel Corp and the scientist awarded the 1961 patent for the integrated conductor.

For more information about the Warner School's teacher preparation programs, please visit the Warner Web site at www.rochester.edu/warner or contact Admissions at (585) 275-3950 or by e-mail at admissions@warner.rochester.edu.

Tags: math education, National Science Foundation, Noyce scholars, Rochester City School District, scholarship, science education, STEM, teacher preparation, urban education