This award targets the recruitment of high-quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) career-changers to provide them stipends to undertake an innovative science and mathematics focused Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program at Oakland University (OU). This program prepares secondary science and mathematics teachers to teach in high-needs schools and continues teacher support through the first two years of teaching. Our approach takes advantage of a number of foundational insights from our experiences as scholars, secondary school teachers and teacher educators. First, our program is based upon research and practices in field-based teacher education through an existing MAT program that has an established record for producing excellent teachers. Second, we are recruiting high quality candidates from STEM fields with an explicit focus on their learning to teach in high needs schools. Third, we utilize a model of support for teachers both in the program and through the initial years of teaching that blends university expertise with secondary school teacher-mentors? knowledge of practice.
Many programs directed to recruit STEM professionals are predicated on making entry easier. Our proposed program is focused on making teacher education more effective particularly with respect to preparing teachers for high needs schools. Although we recognize that barriers may prevent some interested STEM professionals from teaching, we are targeting outstanding candidates committed to high quality science and mathematics teaching. We will recruit candidates who recognize the great challenges and potential rewards of teaching in high needs schools. Further, we seek STEM professionals who are curious, caring and committed. Such candidates will be open to learning how to teach in a program informed by the scholarship of the past 30 years in science and mathematics education. Such candidates will be committed to understanding and engaging the cognitive and social factors that influence learning and devoted to helping all kids learn important science and mathematics. We seek to significantly improve the educational opportunities of students in high-needs secondary schools by preparing STEM-specialist teachers who are committed to teaching and learning in schools of highest need. Our proposal consists of new work?the focused preparation of three cohorts of ten teachers each for high needs middle and high schools. This is a direct infusion of energy and development around preparing science and mathematics teachers for these schools. It also represents renewing work; the partnerships and knowledge developed here will establish and sustain relationships between current faculty of Oakland University and the administrators, teachers and students of our partnering schools.