Five Georgia colleges and universities have been selected as launch sites for the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship Program. The fellowship is meant to better prepare and bolster the number of teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math — also known as STEM.
“STEM education plays a critical role in our state’s competitiveness and future economic prosperity,” Deal said in a release. “The most important thing we can do for our students in this field is ensure they have effective teachers.”
Columbus State University, Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, Mercer University and Piedmont College will participate in the program, Deal said. The schools will develop a master’s level teacher preparation program and offer fellows a yearlong training session at local schools. Participating institutions will also be given $400,000 matching grants to develop their programs, Deal said.
Each school participating in the program will enroll 12 fellows per year over a three-year period. Fellows will receive $30,000 stipends, and will commit to teaching in high-need urban or rural Georgia schools for three years, Deal said.
“Study after study shows that teachers are the single most important in-school factor in improving student achievement,” president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Arthur Levine, said in a release. “Yet urban and rural schools consistently struggle to attract and retain strong math and science teachers — nationally, 30 to 40 percent of all teachers leave the profession during their first three years in the classroom, and more in high-need districts,” Levine said.
Nearly 24 Georgia school districts are being considered as partner sites, and the foundation is looking for additional partners and funders to expand the program Deal said.
The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship program launched in Indiana in 2009 and has grown to include schools in Michigan, Ohio and New Jersey, foundation officials said in a release. Officials said 350 fellows are currently teaching, and nearly 150 more are preparing to begin their careers as educators.