LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — The University of Louisiana-Lafayette's math education department plans to recruit teachers during the fall for a new program designed to boost students' interest in careers in the sciences.
The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/TNvDtu) the university received a $1.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation to create a program called Louisiana Mathematics Masters in the Middle. It's designed to provide professional development to teachers in Iberia, Lafayette and Vermilion parishes.
A total of 20 teachers will be selected for the four-year program after an application process that involves a classroom observation, said Peter Sheppard, associate professor of math education and the grant's principal investigator. Sheppard also is interim head of the College of Education's department of curriculum and instruction.
Teachers selected will begin graduate courses next year, leading to an elementary mathematics specialist certificate by summer 2014, Sheppard said.
The program targets middle schools because that's about the time students start thinking about career choices, Sheppard said.
"I believe middle school is our great opportunity to maybe convince a student that the STEM area (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is probably a viable career route," he said. "They're pretty influential at that age, so if they can get a real exceptional, savvy teacher at that time that could expose them to thinking like scientists and mathematicians, I feel that's an opportune time to do so."
Teachers in the program will pass their knowledge to other teachers at their schools and also will participate in a mentorship program for university students majoring in education, he said.
The teachers will receive a $10,000 stipend annually during their four years in the program.
Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com