Middle school students with “hidden potential” for a career in math and sciences will be boosted by a grant secured by UL Lafayette that will work with a select group of teachers to reform math education in Acadiana.

Peter Sheppard, UL’s interim head of the College of Education’s department of curriculum and instruction and the grant’s chief investigator, tells The Advocate that the $1.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation will create a Louisiana Mathematics Masters in the Middle program designed to train teachers on how to gear struggling students toward a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)-related career.

Twenty teachers from Lafayette, Iberia and Vermilion parishes will be selected for the program, The Advocate reports:

Sheppard said recruitment will begin later this fall and applicants will need to have at least three years teaching experience, a master’s degree and be eligible for admission to the university’s graduate school.

Graduate coursework will continue during the academic year at “teacher-friendly” hours or online, Sheppard said. Once the participating teachers earn their specialist certification, their graduate coursework may be applied to a doctoral degree in educational leadership, he said.

The College of Education plans to use the new program as a “blueprint” for a math education concentration in its educational leadership program, he said.
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