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published on June 13, 2019 - 12:54 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Fresno State is working to reverse an acute shortage of qualified math teachers in California by introducing students with an interest to rewarding teaching careers.

The Fresno State Department of Mathematics received a $1.4-million award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide scholarships to help majors in the integrated credential option pay tuition and other costs so they can concentrate on earning their degree. The NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship will provide 44 junior and senior math majors, who want to be teachers, with $10,000 scholarships each year.

The award gives financial relief to students enrolled in the university’s more rigorous integrated credential program, in which they can earn their bachelor’s degrees and teaching credential in four year instead of the traditional five.

“With this grant, we can lead and create a new pathway for students to teaching. I hope this will help us to increase the number of teachers we are producing,” said Rajee Amarasinghe, professor and chair of the Fresno State Department of Mathematics. “If we are successful, this will be a model for the other universities in the California State University System.”

In addition to scholarships, the Growing Outstanding Teachers of Math (GOTMath) will also provide academic and extra-curricular support to help students thrive in difficult classes.

Students will participate in a bi-weekly seminar series with master teachers and education researchers to learn about best teaching practices. They will have content-focused mentoring from faculty and other students to understand what it means to engage in mathematics. There will also be outreach to freshman and sophomore students interested in teaching, becoming eligible for the Noyce Scholar program in their junior year.

“GOTMath will expand the university’s legacy of producing math teachers and leaders who inspire all students in classrooms throughout the Central Valley,” said Robert Harper, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

On a regional level, the project will include collaboration between Fresno, Clovis and Sanger unified school districts and the Education Futures Project made up of 14 community colleges to discuss ways to work together to strengthen the teacher prep pipeline.

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