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Innovation at Montclair State University: Preparing Teachers for High-Need STEM Fields

The Innovations Inventory of AACTE’s Innovation Exchange is an online database highlighting members’ pioneering practices in educator preparation that have shown a positive impact on issues of student learning, preparation program advancement, or educator workforce needs. This blog post is one in a series highlighting entries from the inventory. To request inclusion of your institution’s innovations, contact Zach VanHouten at zvanhouten@aacte.org

Over the past few years, Montclair State University has developed a series of programs geared toward increasing the supply of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers. Programs including the Newark-Montclair Urban Teacher Residency (NMUTR) and the Integrative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (iSTEM) program are contributing to the national initiative “100Kin10,” which seeks to prepare 100,000 new STEM teachers by 2021.

In order to help meet this local (and national) need, Montclair has invested in building residency and clinical induction programs of a high caliber. In the NMUTR program, candidates are placed full-time with master teacher mentors while they earn a master’s degree on site in the schools. After becoming teachers, participants receive extensive induction support from the institution for the next 3 years in order to boost their chances for success in the Newark Public Schools. The NMUTR program also incorporates a unique focus on cultural responsiveness by allowing teacher candidates to participate in community-based organizations throughout the summer months.

Although these programs are still young, they are already showing early signs of progress. In just the first 3 years of the NMUTR program, Montclair has produced 65 teachers for Newark Public Schools in the high-need areas of math, science, and special education. Math proficiency scores in one partner school have increased over 10%. The iSTEM program has also enjoyed success; in just 2 years of implementation, it has prepared 14 mentor teachers and 12 teacher candidates with dual certification in math, chemistry, or biology and special education.

To learn more about the Montclair State University programs or other institutions participating in the Innovations Inventory, visit http://theinnovationexchange.net/programs/innovations-inventory/.

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Zachary VanHouten

Manager of Programs and Advocacy, AACTE