NSF Grant Aims to Support STEM Teacher Preparation in Alaska

A University of Alaska faculty team will develop a new scholarship program to support Alaskans who want to become secondary science, technology, engineering and math teachers.

A $74,000 National Science Foundation grant will allow the team to build the plan for a Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program at the University of Alaska. The program will provide full scholarships to support Alaska STEM majors as they earn their teaching certificates.

“Students tell us over and over again that they need financial support for enrolling in a full-time teacher education program,” said Ute Kaden, one of the project leads and chair of the University of Alaska Fairbanks secondary education program. “Currently there are little to no funds available to support students who want to become teachers in Alaska.”

The state has a large number of small rural schools that grapple with high teacher turnover and an increasing demand for STEM instructors. Rural schools often have only one teacher responsible for teaching all the STEM subjects across multiple grade levels.

“This collaborative approach built on the expertise and resources of all three UA campuses will be sustainable and attractive,” Kaden said. “It has the potential to increase the number of Alaska-educated STEM teachers in a fiscally responsible, non-disruptive way.”

Other project leads include Steffi Ickert-Bond from the University of Alaska Museum of the North and Deborah Lo and Virgil Fredenberg from the University of Alaska Southeast.

The team will study successful programs at other universities, such as the UTeach program at the University of Texas at Austin. The model started in 1997 as a student-focused way to recruit STEM majors and prepare them to become teachers. Now in its 20th year, Ickert-Bond said, UTeach has been implemented at 44 universities in 21 states and the District of Columbia.

Source: NSF grant aims to support STEM teacher preparation in Alaska – Alaska Business Monthly

Seven Alaskans Awarded First-ever Teach for Alaska Presidential Scholarship

FAIRBANKS – University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen awarded seven young Alaskans with the first-ever Teach for Alaska Presidential Scholarship during a video conference with them today. The competitive scholarship, part of the university’s Drive the Change public awareness initiative, was open to all Alaska high school students planning to pursue a degree in education. Scholarship recipients hail from Angoon to Nome.

‘These very talented and dedicated young people are the kind of students we want at our university,’ Johnsen said, ‘and each demonstrates a strong desire to seek a career as a teacher and to nurture the next generation of young minds. Providing support and an educational path for Alaska’s future teachers is just one of the ways the university can continue to drive change in our state. We are honored to be able to support the higher education of not only one, but seven aspiring teachers as they pursue their career goals.’

The group of seven learned this week that they had been chosen as a finalist from a pool of 21 scholarship applicants, although it wasn’t until they convened for a video conference (video available here: http://www.alaska.edu/pres/teach-for-alaska-scholars/) from their hometowns with Johnsen that they learned each had been selected for the coveted four-year academic scholarship to study teaching at one of UA’s campuses.

‘You will be the educators of the future and you will be the ones who help drive change for your generation in Alaska,’ Johnsen said in awarding the scholarships.

Read the full article and see the list of winners here.

Source: University of Alaska System (via Public) / Seven Alaskans awarded first-ever Teach for Alaska Presidential Scholarship

CAEPR Releases Report on the Cost of Teacher Turnover in Alaska

Alaska faces challenges recruiting and retaining educators, especially in its rural and remote communities. A new report, “The cost of teacher turnover in Alaska” by Dayna Jean DeFeo, Trang Tran, Diane Hirshberg, Dale Cope and Pam Cravez, details the costs associated with teacher turnover and calculates an average per-teacher cost in four categories: separation, recruitment, hiring and induction. It details actual dollars allocated to these activities and makes recommendations for policy and practice. Download the report at the Center for Alaska Education Policy Research website.

Source: CAEPR releases report on the cost of teacher turnover in Alaska – Green & Gold News

The Northern Journeys Will Help UAA, ASD Teachers Infuse Culture Into Anchorage Classrooms

Children and teachers both will benefit from ‘The Northern Journeys’ project—a University of Alaska Anchorage College of Education collaboration with the Anchorage Museum, Alaska Native Heritage Center and other partners—which will help teachers integrate the arts into their classrooms and teach in a culturally responsive way.

Read the full article here.

Source: ‘The Northern Journeys’ will help UAA, ASD teachers infuse culture into Anchorage classrooms – Green & Gold News