The nonprofit Helios Education Foundation recently donated $3.16 million to the University of South Florida (USF) to educate and train science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) middle school teachers.
USF expects to send 80 new STEM teachers into Hillsborough County middle schools by 2017. They will be certified to teach the subject matter in fifth through ninth grade, and know how to impart it to one of the most vulnerable student populations.
Currently, more than 90 percent of middle school students in the United States are taught math or science by a teacher working outside a field of expertise, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
An international evaluation found that math and science literacy for 15-year-old U.S. students fell steadily over 10 years compared to students in other countries.
"It happens to be a time in school when students tend to disengage around math and sciences," says Helios' Stacy Carlson. "If you can affect the effectiveness of teachers in the classroom, you can improve student achievement."
USF's College of Education will lead the program with help from the colleges of Engineering and Arts and Sciences.
From Tampa Bay Times
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