by Claire Miller
Three faculty members in the College of Education’s Department of Early Childhood Education received a $2.1 million grant to train and support teachers dedicated to teaching science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects in high-need urban schools.
Associate Professor Diane Truscott and Assistant Professors Nancy Schafer and Brian Williams received the funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Transition to Teaching program for their “Teaching Teachers Together: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Success” program, which will recruit teachers into the COE’s Urban Accelerated Certification and Master’s Program (UACM) who have a passion for teaching science and math.
“Our focus is to help build on what we’ve already learned from our previous grant experiences in high-need urban schools and to increase the number of highly-qualified teachers who commit to teaching in those schools,” said Truscott, principal investigator for the grant. “We have a commitment in the program to support children in schools who are culturally and linguistically diverse, and now we’re trying to also emphasize science and mathematics content.”
Participants in the grant program will conduct their field experiences four days a week in Atlanta Public Schools classrooms under the tutelage of mentor teachers, and will have the opportunity to attend professional development seminars and classes that Truscott, Schafer and Williams are developing at a professional learning site.
They’ll also work with graduates of the UACM program in science summer camps beginning in 2013, where children in high-need areas will come to learn about inquiry-based and play-based science.
“Our pre-service teachers enrolled in our program will be working at the summer camps, learning about instruction, classroom management and how to teach inquiry-based science in an effective way, while graduates of our program will serve as lead teachers in those classrooms and learn how to mentor pre-service teachers,” Williams said. “Children who may not necessarily get a lot of science instruction during the school year and may not have the opportunity to have extracurricular science opportunities will have those experiences at this free camp.”
By the end of the five-year grant, Truscott, Schafer and Williams hope to have a better understanding of what teachers need to teach STEM subjects effectively and have curriculum for math and science classes that can be used as a model for summer camps, after-school programs and general classroom instruction.
For more information on the Urban Accelerated Certification and Master’s Program (UACM) in Early Childhood Education, visit http://education.gsu.edu/ece/4566.html.