Bull's-eye -- Programs targeting math, science teacher shortage may get boost

t the introductory Teaching Mathematics and Science course this spring. Next fall, theyll take another one-hour education course, with an A or B in either course earning a student reimbursement from the university for the course.

These introductory classes let students try out teaching to come see if they like it, Williams said. Where else can you try out a career for free"

Additionally, Williams assigned each student an elementary school mentor in one of the participating school districts, where the students completed five assignments during the spring semester in that teachers classroom. Next fall, students will be assigned a mentor in a middle school and one in high school the following semester. In the fourth semester, students will choose the grade level for their field experience.

Research shows the more field experience they have, the more prepared students are to work in a classroom, she said. School administrators recognize that when students begin preparing to teach as undergraduates, they receive more thorough preparation and are retained at a higher rate than teachers from alternative certification programs.

Morgan and Williams set a goal of 20 students for the first teachHOUSTON group, targeting those in computer science, geosciences, engineering and bioengineering, as well as those from traditional K-12 science areas. Morgan plans to add students to the program each semester, eventually expanding it to 375 students participating by the fourth year of the program. UTeach has more than 470 participants and has doubled the number of UT-Austin students graduating with math and science teacher certification. Compared to a 60 percent national four-year retention rate, 80 percent of UTeach graduates who became teachers four years ago are still teaching.

Should UH be selected for one of the NMSI grants, they will be provided course materials, operations manuals, consultation and training from

Contact: Lisa Merkl
University of Houston

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