Washington, D.C. To combat the trend of declining qualified mathematics teachers in middle and high school, the Carnegie Institution’s Carnegie Academy for Science Education (CASE) launched a partnership in 2008 with Math for America (MfA) and American University (AU). The Math for America (MfA DC) program’s goal is to improve the mathematics education of Washington, D.C., public and public charter secondary school students. The program selects, on a competitive basis, individuals with undergraduate degrees in mathematics or related disciplines to become MfA DC Fellows and educates them to become skilled teachers. Using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the National Science Foundation has just awarded MfA DC a $ 1.498-million grant to cover the tuition, stipend, and mentoring costs for the first 14 Fellows. The first group of six Fellows arrives in the city on June 15.

The academic program is a cooperative effort of the AU School of Education, Teaching, and Health and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. The first six fellows have been chosen to begin a 15-month Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and teaching certification program. Altogether, the MfA DC plans to recruit 34 Fellows over the next four years. In return for a full fellowship and stipend for the academic program, the Fellows commit to teach in D.C. public and public charter secondary schools for four years after completing their training. During those years, they will each have a personal mentor, ongoing professional development activities, and a supplementary stipend to support them as new classroom teachers.

James H. Simons, mathematician and president of Renaissance Technologies Corporation, founded Math for America in 2004 “to improve the quality of mathematics education in the country's public schools by recruiting, training, and retaining effective secondary school mathematics teachers.” Currently, MfA has placed Fellows in 96 New York City schools. Additional MfA sites have been created in San Diego and Los Angeles. MfA’s program was the congressional model for creating the National Science Foundation Teaching Fellowships through the Robert Noyce program.
The first Fellows attended undergraduate colleges and universities across the country. They have outstanding undergraduate achievement in math, excellent recommendations, and performed very well during a rigorous interview.

The Carnegie Institution founded CASE in 1993 to enhance science, mathematics, and technology teaching and learning for K through 12 D.C. teachers and students. Carnegie president emerita Maxine Singer, a co-principal investigator (co-PI) on the grant, commented: “This support from the NSF will be a huge boost for math education in D.C. Research shows that rigorous mathematics education in secondary school correlates with success in jobs and college.”

“The mission of the Math for America-D.C. program is aligned with AU’s strategic commitment to improving D.C. schools and we are thrilled to be involved,” said co-PIs Sarah Irvine Belson of the School of Education, Teaching and Health and John Nolan of the Mathematics and Statistics Department. “We look forward to the arrival of our first group of MfA Fellows this summer.”

Located in Washington, D.C., American University is a leader in global education. Enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and more than 150 countries, the university provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation's capital and around the world. See http://www.american.edu/

 

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