University of Alabama Announces Grant to Aid Math Teachers

A $2.85 million grant from the National Science Foundation will be used by the university to support school teachers with a fellowship for professional development. Teachers will also receive tech for classroom use.

by News Staff, The Tuscaloosa News / March 26, 2019
A teacher leads a lesson on personal finance. (AP/Lynne Sladky)

(TNS) — The University of Alabama has earned a $2.85 million grant from the National Science Foundation that will provide support for math teachers in Tuscaloosa city and county schools.

"This grant is unprecedented in our region and provides mathematics teachers with a career-changing opportunity in which they are fully supported both professionally and financially for the commitments of their precious time and expertise," said Jeremy Zelkowski, coordinator of UA's secondary math education program, in a news release.

The grant will fund the "Master Teacher Fellowship" for math teachers in sixth through 12th grades. The six-year program will aid the teachers' professional development while providing salary supplements of $12,575 for full participation and paid tuition toward a master's degree or educational specialist degree.

Teachers will also receive technology to use in their classrooms and travel money to attend state and national conferences through an additional in-kind contribution of $400,000 from Texas Instruments.

By the third year of the fellowship, teachers could become national board certified, a distinction that includes a pay raise and salary supplements.

At least 24 teachers will be recruited for the first two classes of the fellowship, with one class beginning this June and the next beginning in June 2020. Applications, along with more information, are available online at www.aplusinmath.ua.edu

Planning sessions to gauge interest in the fellowship began about 10 months ago and about 30 Tuscaloosa area teachers attended focus groups to help shape the project's design.

"My instinct tells me that there's another 15-20 teachers out there that we have not had the pleasure to work with in professional settings or previous grants," Zelkowski said. "So, we're hoping our partnerships with Tuscaloosa city and county schools will help us make many more new connections with math teachers during this recruitment process."

The program has five goals for its participants:

• Become instructional experts in schools and districts

• Increase mathematical knowledge to lead professional development in schools and districts

• Serve in leadership roles in schools and districts, either as mentors to other teachers, instructional coaches, or other leadership opportunities to improve student outcomes

• Assist in building a network for high-quality clinical experiences for teacher candidates

• Learn and emerge to enter leadership roles with the Alabama Council of Teachers of Mathematics annual fall forum and national conferences

"We are honored to have received this grant from the National Science Foundation to transform the next decade-plus of mathematics teaching and learning to support our local schools and students," Zelkowski said.

©2019 The Tuscaloosa News, Ala. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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