A community project proposed by the University of South Florida’s (USF) College of Education was awarded $1 million by the House Appropriations Committee to enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teacher preparation across the Tampa Bay region.
The project, endorsed for funding support last year by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14), will create a pipeline of new STEM teachers within Hillsborough County Public Schools and other Tampa Bay region school districts.
“Skilled and devoted teachers are key to student success and to a thriving economy here in the Tampa Bay area,” Rep. Castor said. “…I am thrilled that President Biden signed the appropriations into law and those funds are on the way to train and lift up our talented teachers. This will pay great dividends for years to come.”
The initiative will focus on a four-year model of teacher preparation that emphasizes interdisciplinary content aligned with K-12 teaching standards and research-based instructional and assessment strategies. Field placements during students’ freshman through junior years will provide opportunities for building professional knowledge and experience before completing a final, year-long internship during the senior year. After graduation, students will be supported through enhanced mentor training and professional development during their first two years of full-time teaching.
“The University of South Florida is committed to supporting the Tampa Bay region’s teacher pipeline,” said USF President Rhea Law. “Through this community project, USF will support local efforts to prepare highly effective educators to teach STEM subjects and inspire the next generation to pursue careers in these fields. We thank Rep. Kathy Castor for her continuous support of USF and the House Appropriations Committee for awarding funding to this initiative.”
Funding will also be used to create STEM classrooms that allow teachers to experiment with versatile curricula, innovative teaching strategies, enhanced technology, authentic assessments and collaborative learning.
“Technology is not just a tool—technology allows us to inspire kids to use their imaginations, to dream bigger than themselves and to think that they can be better than they might otherwise be without it,” said R. Anthony Rolle, PhD, professor and dean of the USF College of Education. “Technology is the gateway to success, both academically and economically, and (the USF College of Education) is proud to be a part of this effort.”
About the USF College of Education:
Home to more than 2,200 students and 130 faculty members, the University of South Florida College of Education values high-quality education and excellence in research, teaching and learning. The College of Education is nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and its educator preparation programs are fully approved by the Florida Department of Education.