Drexel program gets $1.2 million grant to tackle city's 'desperate' need for STEM teachers - Technical.ly Philly

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Mar. 23, 2017 10:18 am

Drexel program gets $1.2 million grant to tackle city’s ‘desperate’ need for STEM teachers

The program, called Dragons Teach Middle Years, aims to certify 40 undergraduates as science and math teachers every year by 2022.

The program will help undergraduate students spend 30 weeks embedded in a Philadelphia classroom.

(Photo by Jon Costales, for Drexel University)

A program called Dragons Teach Middle Years led by Drexel University will aim to certify 40 undergraduate students as science and math teachers every year by 2022, thanks to a $1.2 million grant from the Philadelphia School Partnership.

The program, based out of Drexel’s School of Education, was founded in partnership with TNTP (a nonprofit focusing on practice-based teacher preparation) to “address the decline in certified teachers, particularly in urban settings,” per a press release published Monday.

At first, the program will seek to enroll undergraduates from Drexel’s College of Arts and Sciences who show high academic achievement, a commitment to social justice and experience working with low-income communities. Undergraduate students will spend 30 weeks embedded in Philly classrooms as part of their training.

“Thanks to this partnership, we have a rare opportunity to help meet the city’s desperate need for middle-school math and science teachers, launch Drexel graduates on rewarding careers, and develop an intensive teacher training program that will serve as a national model,” said Drexel University President John Fry. “I am profoundly grateful to the Philadelphia School Partnership for their confidence in Drexel’s School of Education.”

The program reminds us of Drexel’s other training program for teachers, the federally-backed REThink, which is focused on computer science training for high school teachers. Drexel is really doubling down on developing the STEM pipeline through teacher training, which feels like one actually tangible way to increase diversity in tech. Penn also did the federal RET program last summer. Any other local universities training middle and high school teachers?

(Btw, Drexel’s REthink is now accepting applications for its 2017-2018 program.)

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Roberto Torres

Roberto Torres became Technical.ly Lead Philly Reporter in May 2016. Prior, he was a freelance contributor to Technical.ly and Al Dia News. The native Venezuelan moved to Philadelphia in 2015 after reporting on research at his alma mater, the University of Zulia. Whenever he's not fencing deadlines, he can be found standing in line at Overbrook Pizza in West Philly, running Netflix/Hulu marathons with his wife or reading news from Venezuela.

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