The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Frostburg State University (FSU) nearly $4.1 million over five years for a program called Maryland Accelerates, a partnership with Frederick and Garrett County Public Schools. Maryland Accelerates is designed to increase the number of certified teachers statewide, especially in the sciences, mathematics and computer science, and to provide a career path for established teachers to mentor new educators.
“This is a high-tech, high-touch, high-impact program,” said Dr. Yi Huang, principal investigator for the grant.
The funding will support completion of FSU's Master of Arts in Teaching degree. Maryland Accelerates is expected to impact more than 40 new teachers, more than 130 experienced teachers who become mentors and coaches, and about 4,500 students in mostly rural communities with a high need for teachers in subjects with a critical shortage of teachers.
“I am delighted that we can partner with Frostburg State University to offer an innovative pathway to become a teacher,” said FCPS Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban. “This program will provide a wonderful opportunity for FCPS staff to become teachers and to mentor aspiring teachers. It will be invigorating to support the development of this program.”
The Maryland Accelerates program goals build on one another. While the Master of Arts in Teaching is an 18-month degree program to prepare students for teacher certification, the Maryland Accelerates program will allow those teacher candidates to receive a “living stipend” during the process. Working with FSU’s Professional Development Schools in the two counties, teacher candidates enter a yearlong residency, in which they complete the necessary classroom fieldwork. Finally, the experienced teachers in the schools hosting teacher candidates will develop mentorship and coaching skills to prepare them to work with new teachers. The process is designed to prevent the significant numbers of new teachers who leave the profession within their first couple of years and to provide a better career pathway for experienced teachers who want to progress in their field but stay in the classroom. Creating professional-development pathways is a key goal of the Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, the initiative to improve Maryland’s public education system.
“This innovative program is one of very few teacher preparation programs to receive funding from the Department of Education,” said Dr. Boyce Williams, interim dean of FSU's College of Education.
The first year of the five-year grant will be spent planning and developing the specifics of the program. The first students will be enrolled beginning in 2020.
FSU is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. It is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, contact the FSU College of Education at 301-687-4759.