GW University Launches New Program to Train STEM Teachers

WASHINGTON — George Washington University has a new program that offers teacher training to students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

The idea is to create a cadre of STEM majors who would be given the tools they need to go on to teaching careers in “high-needs” schools.

A $1.5 million grant will provide 25 juniors and seniors with $20,000 per year toward tuition and teacher training costs. Once they graduate, the students would then be ready to apply for a D.C. teaching license, which makes them eligible to teach in 48 states.

The program will begin in the 2017-2018 academic year.

Dr. Larry Medsker, director of Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program at the university, said students begin their introduction to teaching as early as their freshman year. They get the chance to work on forming lesson plans and working with mentor teachers to put those plans into practice in area schools.

“When they come back, they’re real excited because the things they’re learning are really helping,” Medsker said.

Medsker explained that “high-needs” schools are defined as those with a high turnover, with a high percentage of students from families below the poverty line, and where there are a large number of secondary school teachers working in classes outside of the content area in which they were trained.

The scholarships are also intended to help students from community colleges who transfer to George Washington University.

Medsker said meeting the increased tuition at a four-year school can be a challenge for many community college students; the scholarships would ease that burden.

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