GAFFNEY, S.C. (courtesy limestone.edu) — Limestone University’s Master of Education in Teacher Leadership program was recently awarded a $1.4 million National Science Foundation grant for Teacher Leadership in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
It represents the largest academic grant that Limestone has received to date, the result of a year-long grant-writing process.
The grant writing team, made up of many current members of Limestone’s faculty, included Dr. Brian Ameling, principal investigator; Dr. Virginia Scates, co-principal investigator; Dr. Shelly Meyers, senior personnel and dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences; and Dr. Jess Harris, teacher education M.Ed. faculty member. The consulting firm Merchant McIntire provided grant writing support for the project.
The funding opportunity is awarded through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, which provides funding to institutions of higher education to provide scholarships, stipends, and programmatic support to recruit and prepare STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) majors and professionals to become K-12 teachers. The program seeks to increase the number of K-12 teachers with strong STEM content knowledge who teach in high-need school districts.
Scates, who serves as the university’s director of the Master of Education in Teacher Leadership Program, said that the benefits provided by Limestone’s program and the grant will give teachers support in best practices in STEM education, and she is confident that will lead to increased student learning outcomes as a result.
“This grant will do so much for the teachers taking part in the M.Ed. program and, in turn, for the students seated in their classrooms,” Scates explained. “Those students will be meeting their learning objectives and getting a rich experience through the experiences their teachers are having. That is what is most exciting about this grant.”
An initial cohort of 10 teachers from Spartanburg School District 3 and the Cherokee County School District will be selected to participate in the program under the Noyce grant. This will be the first of two cohorts that will matriculate through the program during the six-year grant implementation. These teachers will benefit from having the year-long program expenses paid for as they continue to complete or renew National Board Certification, training, and endorsements. They will also receive a salary supplement of $10,000 during years two through five, as they continue to be a part of the program and work with Limestone faculty on improving and honing their skills.
In addition to Spartanburg School District 3 and the Cherokee County School District, Limestone’s Master of Education Teacher Leadership program will also partner with the Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity (BranchEd) and the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA).
The Master of Education in Teacher Leadership program at Limestone University is designed for practicing educators (whether in the classroom or community-based) who desire to hone their leadership skills. Master Teacher Fellows will refine their pedagogy while continuing to serve students in the classroom or work with practicing teachers in a non-administrative capacity. Courses in the program will be taught by Teacher Leader faculty, with STEM faculty also embedded in the Learning Management System course for content-specific consultation.
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