Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Posted: Sunday, 08 November 2009 3:52PM

Grant To Boost Michigan Science, Math Teachers

Addressing the shortage of math and science teachers who will equip Michigan's vulnerable students with the skills they need to compete in the work force, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation with a $16.7 million grant to establish a new statewide teaching fellowship program.

The new W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship will provide 240 future teachers with an exemplary intensive master's program in education and place those Fellows in hard-to-staff middle and high schools.

Over the five-year timeline, almost 20,000 public school students in Mich. will receive high quality instruction in the critical subject areas of science, technology, engineering and math.

Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm joined the Kellogg Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation at the announcement made last week at the Detroit Science Center.

"This grant is an investment in Michigan's future, in the future of our workforce, and in the future of our children," Granholm said. "We must develop a workforce that is prepared for the high-tech careers of tomorrow. The new math and science teachers who emerge from this fellowship will inspire our kids to be excited about careers in science, math and technology."

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship will recruit a diverse mix of high-achieving candidates who show promise as future teachers. Fellows can be college seniors, recent graduates or career changers. The current market downturn in Michigan has forced many experienced engineers and professionals out of the workforce, making available a talented pool of workers who can share their knowledge and depth of experience with students.

"The Kellogg Foundation has worked across the country to improve educational opportunities for vulnerable children from the early years through high school," said Sterling Speirn, president and CEO of the Kellogg Foundation. "But it's especially important to invest in a promising initiative in our home state that will match well-qualified teachers with students most in need."

The Fellows, who will be announced in Spring 2011 and receive a $30,000 stipend to complete the master's program, commit to teach for at least three years in a high-need school after they complete their teacher education program. The Fellows also are placed in their schools in cohorts and receive intensive support and mentoring to encourage them to continue teaching as a long-term career instead of making it a brief assignment.

As integral partners in the Fellowship, several Michigan universities also will undergo important changes. The adjustments will be necessary to provide the Fellows with the best combination of content knowledge and classroom expertise to most effectively address the challenges of their specific student populations.

"Research has shown again and again that the most important element in a student's success is the teacher," said

Arthur Levine, the president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and a respected expert on teacher education. "America's schools of education are facing the extraordinary challenge of having to prepare a new breed of teacher, ready to teach the most diverse population of students in our history to the highest levels of skills and knowledge ever required -- all in an outcomes-based system of education. This Fellowship emphasizes intensive practical preparation, rigorous grounding in the subject matter, and extensive supervised teaching experience in the same kind of high-need urban and rural schools where Fellows will later teach."

"Having enough great teachers, especially in the math and sciences, shouldn't depend on where a child lives," said Mike Flanagan, Michigan's state superintendent of public instruction. "This program will help heal that disparity."

The first statewide Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, inspired by Levine's research, is already under way in Indiana. The four participating universities are Ball State University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Purdue University and the University of Indianapolis. The first group of Fellows began their studies this past summer, and the project is being independently evaluated by the Urban Institute. Like Indiana's Fellowship, the Michigan Fellowship will serve as a model for improving teacher education across the country.

Universities that participate must match a $500,000 grant and redesign their teacher education programs in science and math within a 21-month time frame by creating a collaborative relationship between the schools of arts and sciences and education. Instead of simply adding a pilot project, these model math and science teacher education programs completely replace the existing programs and are sustained for years to come.

Field experience for the Fellows also starts early in the process, as they begin work in high-need schools and gradually take on more teaching responsibilities, similar to the training a medical student would receive in a teaching hospital. Mentoring support for the Fellows continues throughout their first three years in the classroom.

The success of the program will be judged by the learning of the students in the Fellows' classrooms, the retention of the teachers and the changes at the university.

Targeting the initiative to middle school students as well as to high school students is a key strategy for improving student performance in these subjects. The recently released National Assessment of Educational Progress mathematics results show that 8th graders have made slight gains since 2007, from an average of 281 to 283. But still, just 34 percent of students are scoring at or above the proficient level. In addition, students eligible for the federal student lunch program gained just one point over 2007 and the average score for English learners dropped this year by three points.

Based in Battle Creek, the Kellogg Foundation focuses its grants on programs that improve the lives of vulnerable children. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship matches the Foundation's goals of building innovative partnerships that create stronger conditions for learning and increasing students' ability to become productive members of society.

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation has a history of administering successful fellowship programs and preparing new generations of leaders. It is respected within and beyond the higher education community. Since the 1980s, the Foundation also has forged partnerships between schools and universities in order to improve professional development for teachers.

Interested applicants should contact wwteachingfellowships@woodrow.org.

More at www.wkkf.org,

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