Education :: Cincinnati partnership awarded $340,000 to inspire future math teachers

As part of a $3.5 million initiative by the Ohio Board of Regents to develop 10 regional academies, the University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, Miami University, Cincinnati Public Schools and the Princeton City Schools form a partnership to recruit high school students into becoming future math teachers.

High school juniors and seniors from Cincinnati Public’s Hughes Center Magnet Programs and Princeton City Schools are about to join a program to get them thinking about a career they may have never considered before. The Southwest Ohio STEM Secondary Teacher Academy ? a proposal awarded $340,000 jointly to UC and Miami University by the Ohio Board of Regents ? will provide an intensive, three-week summer experience, an internship, free college credit (as well as high school credit) in calculus or algebra, and intensive mentoring for 50 high-school students. The year-long academy, which will get underway this summer, aims to identify high school students who could become promising future high school math teachers.

The Southwest Ohio STEM Secondary Teacher Academy is one of 10 programs around the state to be awarded OBR funding to prepare high school students to pursue high school teaching careers in mathematics, science and foreign languages. STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, are fields that are emphasized as key to competing in a global economy. African-American and urban Appalachian students will represent the majority of students recruited into the program, which aims to increase the numbers of teachers representing those populations.

Nelson Vincent, associate dean for the University of Cincinnati College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH), says during the intensive three-week summer program, students will live on campus day and night, seven days a week, at both UC and Miami University. The UC involvement in the partnership includes coordination from CECH and from the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences, as well as GEARUP, the federally funded partnership that works to help at-risk students in Cincinnati Public Schools pursue a college degree.

Ray Terrell, assistant dean for research and diversity in the School of Education and Allied Professions at Miami University, serves as co-principal investigator of the grant and says he envisions the initiative as a major step forward to recruit and prepare mathematics and science teachers from underrepresented groups.

In addition to the intensive three-week summer experience, the Southwest Ohio STEM Secondary Teacher Academy offers:

A research-based internship ? To gain the personal and instructional skills to become future teachers, the students will undergo internships in math education related fields, such as assisting with GEARUP partnership summer camps and working in university research labs.Saturday Academies through the year ? There will be 10 Saturday academies, hosted at the universities. These intensive, one-day institutes will review the college admissions process, provide information on financial aid and assess the students’ commitment to pursing a career in secondary math education.A Math Mentor for Every Student ? They might be a teacher, a professor, or a college student, but each and every one of the 50 students in the program will have his or her very own math mentor to guide them through the year-long institute and encourage their success.

The summer academies are in response to House Bill 115 of the 126th General Assembly, which appropriated $13.2 million in Fiscal Year 2007 to support the implementation of the Ohio Core recommendations through initiatives designed to increase teacher capacity in mathematics, science and foreign language. House Bill 115 also provides opportunities to ensure the success of students in transitioning to college and work.

H.B. 115 requirements for the summer academies focus on providing students entering 11th and 12th grade the opportunity to earn college credit, at no charge, while also meeting high school requirements for mathematics, science and foreign language. In addition, the summer academy concept is intended to provide students an opportunity to consider secondary teaching in these disciplines as a career, particularly students who currently may not aspire to college or to study in the STEM fields or foreign language.

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