MELBOURNE, FLA.—Florida Institute of Technology has partnered with Brevard Public Schools (BPS) to successfully earn a grant of $1,609,514 over two-and-a-half years from the Florida Department of Education to implement a new teacher preparation program based on the UTeach model. The university will be one of only three in the state of Florida offering UTeach teacher preparation courses. Students enrolled in UTeach at Florida Tech can earn a science, math, engineering, technology, computer science, or Interdisciplinary Science degree and become eligible for secondary teacher certification upon graduation.
In addition, the university and BPS will join to proactively work to place Florida Tech UTeach graduates into science, math, technology and engineering teacher vacancies, which exist within the schools.
The UTeach program is nationally recognized for its success at training highly-qualified teachers and successfully placing them in schools around the country.
“This is a win-win for Florida Tech, Brevard Public Schools and all the secondary school students this program will impact,” said Dr. Laszlo Baksay, Head of the Department of Education and Interdisciplinary Studies and Director of FIT4UTeach. Dr. Kastro Hamed, Co-director of FIT4UTeach added, “We are very pleased to offer the ability for interested students to apply for teacher certification at the time of graduation so they may go out into the schools qualified and well prepared.”
The goal of the UTeach teacher preparation program is to increase the quantity and quality of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers in America’s schools. UTeach responds to the shortage of such teachers on local, state and national levels. In fact, according to the National Math and Science Initiative, the United States will need an additional 280,000 math and science teachers by 2015.
Twenty nine universities are implementing UTeach programs and 5,538 students were enrolled in UTeach programs nationally in spring 2012. By 2018, the programs are expected to have graduated 8,034 teachers who will be impacting more than 4 million students nationally.
Teachers from Brevard Public Schools will serve as mentor teachers to supervise the field experiences and apprenticeships required for certification. Each teacher will receive a $250 honorarium through the grant for mentoring two Florida Tech students during a single semester.
According to Patricia Shelton, director of BPS Certification and Professional Development, “This is an exciting opportunity for the integration of professional practice with STEM content and Common Core standards while building capacity at schools to serve our students. The FIT4UTeach program will support the collaborative culture of teaching excellence that allows our students to be successful.”