by Claire Miller
The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded almost $150,000 to faculty in the College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences for a program focused on placing quality mathematics teachers in urban school districts.
Christine Thomas, Pier Junor Clarke and Janice Fournillier of the College of Education and Draga Vidakovic of the College of Arts and Science received the funding for Phase II of Georgia State University’s Robert Noyce Urban Mathematics Education Program (UMEP).
UMEP recruits individuals to teach secondary mathematics in urban, high-need schools, giving them support as they earn their degrees and offering them professional development opportunities once they’ve started teaching. Thirty-seven scholars have completed the program since it began in 2005, and 33 of these scholars are currently teaching in high-need schools.
“National reports have identified the need to increase the pool of highly qualified mathematics teachers as a way to improve mathematics education; however, providing high-quality mathematics education for all students goes beyond the recruitment of knowledgeable teachers,” Thomas said.
Phase I of UMEP’s funding ($470,000) began in 2005 and represented one of the first Noyce scholarships granted in the Southeast. Thereafter, the team received supplemental funding twice to continue this work.
The Phase II funding from the NSF will go toward supporting the program’s ongoing research initiatives, which include the program’s focus on urban teacher retention and its impact on teaching quality and academic achievement, according to Thomas.
“We are making efforts to deepen our understanding of why teachers leave and why they stay, and how efforts to retain teachers impact their work in the classroom,” she said.
For more information about UMEP, visit http://umep.coe.gsu.edu.