Cal State LA awarded grant to implement math teacher preparation program

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The state of California has awarded California State University, Los Angeles a nearly $250,000 grant to create a fast track for students studying to become math teachers.

“It will be a true feat to prepare a cadre of strong math teachers within a span of four years, but with strategic planning, leadership and support from our administration we can achieve this goal,” said Cal State LA’s Mathematics Professor Debasree Raychaudhuri, the grant’s principal investigator.

The grant from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) will be used to create an expedited Integrated Teacher Preparation Program in mathematics, commonly known as SCOPE.

To become a credentialed teacher in a California high school, a person must have a bachelor’s degree with subject matter competency and requisite professional education. Students very often take more than five years to fulfill the requirements. California is experiencing a shortage of K-12 teachers in science, technology, engineering and math.

SCOPE would allow undergraduates at Cal State LA to complete a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, as well as credentialing requirements, within a four-year undergraduate course of study (135 semester units).

SCOPE utilizes innovative curriculum redesign, sequenced early field experiences, intensive summer course work and student involved educational research with mentor teachers.

The mentor teachers are Cal State LA alumni from the Math Noyce Program, which was funded by the National Science Foundation to better prepare students for a teaching career in mathematics.

“To see our own alumni in action is one of the perks that comes with this project,” said Raychaudhuri, who is observing the mentor teachers’ classrooms as part of SCOPE.

Raychaudhuri serves as the credential advisor in the Department of Mathematics at Cal State LA and is the math faculty liaison for the Math and Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI) on campus. She also worked on the Cal State LA Math G.E. Reimagine Project that aims for better learning outcomes and greater academic success of students in math. She was the principal investigator for the Math Noyce Program.

Other Cal State LA faculty members involved with the program include co-principal investigators Melisa Hendrata, of the Department of Mathematics, and Frederick Uy, of the Division of Curriculum and Instruction.

As a part of the grant, Cal State LA will also partner with Los Angeles Trade Tech College (LATTC) to enroll students into the SCOPE program. LATTC students will transfer to Cal State LA after completing their second year of the program. Kristin Webster is the faculty liaison for LATTC. Both campuses will begin admitting students in fall 2018 for the 2018-19 academic year.