Mercer, Bibb County School District Establish Fellowship to Place STEM Teachers in Local Middle, High Schools

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Mercer BCSD signing

MACON – Mercer University and the Bibb County School District today signed an agreement to establish the Mercer Bibb STEM Teaching Fellowship.

The two parties will work together to recruit and enroll a cohort of five highly qualified teaching candidates, who will begin coursework and fieldwork during the summer 2020 semester.

After successful completion of Mercer’s STEM Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program in spring 2021, fellows will commit to three years of full-time employment as teacher of record in a Bibb County middle or high school, during which they will continue to receive mentoring from the University and the Bibb County School District.

Successful completion of this three-year induction period will serve as repayment for all tuition costs associated with the 36-credit-hour STEM M.A.T. program, which includes Georgia teacher certification at the T-5 level.

“I am very excited about this new relationship with Mercer University,” said Bibb County School District Superintendent Dr. Curtis Jones. “Our new partnership to develop STEM Fellows will ensure we have a solid pipeline of science, technology, engineering and math teachers who want to work in our schools. This is a cutting-edge partnership that is indicative of the great work happening between the Bibb County School District and great partners like Mercer.”

Over the past four years, Mercer’s Tift College of Education, through a matching funds grant with the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, created a clinical STEM M.A.T. model to recruit and retain middle and high school teachers for the STEM disciplines in Georgia’s Title I school systems.

Mercer’s Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, which will welcome its fourth and final cohort of fellows this summer, provided yearlong placements in Bibb County’s Northeast High School, Rutland High School and Westside High School, as well as with partner schools in Dodge, Houston and Monroe counties.

The Mercer Bibb STEM Teaching Fellowship will allow the University to use this same model to recruit and retain additional teachers certified in math, biology, chemistry, earth space science or physics for Bibb County schools.

“The need for highly capable STEM teachers in our middle and high schools is more critical than ever,” said Mercer President William D. Underwood. “Mercer is pleased to establish this creative partnership with the Bibb County School District to recruit and prepare classroom teachers in these fields. We look forward to tracking how this model can be replicated in other schools to better prepare future generations of students for STEM careers.”

Along with Tift College of Education, Mercer’s College of Liberal Arts, School of Engineering and School of Medicine contribute to the STEM M.A.T. program, which is primarily targeted at recent graduates or career changers with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math. The innovative curriculum is designed to transform fellows from people who understand STEM content to people who can teach STEM content.

Fellows will conduct summer STEM camps for middle and high school students in June 2020. The camps, previously conducted by Mercer’s Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows, will provide Bibb County students with an immersive learning experience focused on the engineering design process and including toothpick bridge, K’NEX car, coding and robotics exercises.

About the College of Education

Mercer University’s Tift College of Education – with campuses in Macon, Atlanta and the University’s two regional academic centers – prepares more professional educators than any other private institution in Georgia. Named for the former women’s college that merged with Mercer in 1986, the College of Education offers baccalaureate and graduate degrees, and is guided by the conceptual framework of the “Transforming Educator,” which supports those who aspire to grow professionally throughout their careers, while also seeking to transform the lives of students. For more information, visit education.mercer.edu.

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Kyle Sears