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$5.3M Federal Grant Will Help Stem Majors Become Georgia Middle Grades Teachers

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the Southern Regional Education Board a $5.3 million, 5-year Teacher Quality Partnership grant to create a residency-based teacher preparation program with Georgia College & State University.

The Georgia Residency for Educating Amazing Teachers will recruit undergraduate STEM majors who aspire to become middle grades math and science teachers. They will complete an online Master of Arts in Teaching during a year-long residency—practice teaching supervised by a mentor-teacher— in a high-needs middle grades classroom.

Rural school districts served by the Oconee Regional Education Service Agency in central Georgia will be the primary partners for hosting the residents in classrooms. SREB and Georgia College will support mentor-teachers and residents with coaching and specialized training on topics like project-based learning.

Over the course of the grant, 60 students will become fully certified to teach middle grades math or science in Georgia; some will also complete a computer science endorsement.

The newly certified teachers will then teach in a local school for two years with support from mentor-teachers and SREB instructional coaches. Participants agree to teach in their assigned schools for one year beyond this two-year induction period.

”Students deserve good teachers, and teachers deserve effective preparation for the classroom,” said SREB President Stephen L. Pruitt. “This program addresses the SREB Teacher Preparation Commission’s recommendations: quality clinical teaching followed by induction and mentoring, all in the context of partnerships among universities and K-12 districts.”

“The Georgia Residency for Educating Amazing Teachers grant will help middle Georgia with its critical need for high-quality STEM teachers in our middle schools,” said Joseph M. Peters, dean of the John H. Lounsbury College of Education at Georgia College. “The middle grades represent a time when students are beginning to explore future career paths. Exposure to exemplary STEM teaching helps engage students early on and will lead to careers in STEM fields.”

“Middle grades are also a time when academic interest can be replaced by social interests if students are not challenged,” said Peters. “When teachers provide challenging STEM content, students see connections to real-world problems, and this relevancy keeps them interested and engaged.” 

“We look forward to partnering with Georgia College, whose small-cohort approach to teacher education is led by faculty mentors, with training based in schools,” said Dan Mollette, director of school improvement programs and resources at SREB and project director of the grant.

The Georgia Residency for Educating Amazing Teachers (GREAT) partnership addresses

  • The scarcity of science and math teachers in rural schools
  • The need for effective STEM teachers in middle grades classrooms
  • The scarcity of qualified computer science teachers
  • The promise of high-quality residencies for supervised practice teaching
  • Support for new teachers in their first three years in the profession
  • Strong partnerships among teacher preparation programs and local school districts

 The Program

60 aspiring teachers, in three cohorts of 20 students each

  • Recent graduates with undergraduate STEM majors
  • Mid-career STEM professionals with undergraduate degrees

Year 1

  • Students practice teaching in a year-long residency in central Georgia schools, supervised by mentor-teachers.
  • They complete a 36-hour online Master of Arts in Teaching from Georgia College and State University.
  • They complete all requirements to become fully certified in middle grades math or science.
  • Some complete a computer science endorsement to add to their certification.

Years 2 and 3

  • Newly certified, the participants are hired as teachers in their host districts.
  • During a two-year induction period, the new teachers receive mentoring and support from their district and continued guidance from SREB instructional coaches.

Year 4

Participants agree to teach in the district for at least one year following residency and induction.

The Partners

Southern Regional Education Board

Staff support mentor-teachers and student-teacher residents throughout the residency and induction periods with

  • face-to-face and virtual coaching
  • specialized training on topics such as incorporating project-based learning in STEM classes

Georgia College & State University

  • Residents enroll in Georgia College’s online Master of Arts in Teaching program
  • Faculty support mentor-teachers and student-teacher residents throughout the residency

Rural school districts in the Oconee Regional Education Service Agency area

  • Provide time for mentor teachers and residents to collaborate on lesson planning, teaching strategies and data analysis
  • Agree to hire the new teachers after they complete their residencies and earn certification

 The program is open to other Georgia school districts as well.

The Grant

$5.3 million over 5 years, 2019 to 2024

The grant partners will match the federal funding with funds from other sources and in-kind contributions.


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