UF awarded $2M to boost science, math teaching

Published: Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 10:23 AM.

 

Answering a call to ensure Florida has the best educated workforce for our global knowledge economy, the University of Florida is launching a statewide effort to bolster teaching and learning in science and mathematics in the middle school and high school grades.

Officials with the university and the Florida Department of Education jointly announced this month that UF’s College of Education has been awarded a two-year, $2 million grant to create a research-based, professional development support system for new science and math teachers.

The project’s most noteworthy feature is the creation of prototype “teacher induction” programs to support teachers in their first two years on the job. Induction will involve online and face-to-face mentoring, professional development, and networking opportunities with their peers.  Center faculty and staff also will assist partnering school districts in creating coaching programs for novice science and math teachers.

To coordinate the project, UF has established a program called Florida STEM-Teacher Induction and Professional Support, also known as Florida STEM-TIPS Center . STEM is a common acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics - key technical subject areas that Gov. Rick Scott has declared as a high priority in Florida ’s public schools to support the growth of high-wage jobs in the private sector.

Griffith Jones, a UF science education professor and principal investigator of the project, will oversee development of statewide teacher induction activities. Jones said they will start in Dade, Duval and Palm Beach counties, where UF has existing partnerships with the local school districts, and then scale up to other interested districts throughout the state.

“The induction support activities will ensure that the training and collegial support of teachers-in-training won’t end at graduation, but will continue into their first two years of teaching,” Jones said. “We aim to work with districts to reverse the lack of teacher induction support that historically drives nearly one-third of new teachers from the classroom by their third year of teaching.”



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