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Building a Strong STEM Teacher Pipeline

A Monterey Bay Regional Career Pathways Toolkit developed by Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) and Bright Futures Education Partnership (Bright Futures) has paved the way for a program to address teacher shortages in STEM subjects.

The principles outlined in the toolkit were instrumental in guiding a proposal that ultimately earned CSUMB a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program to increase the number of math and science teachers in underserved middle and high schools in the region.

CSUMB has already demonstrated how focused “grow-your-own” efforts to address teacher shortages in the tri-county region can successfully recruit students and give them the support, flexibility and seamless pathways needed to get them into classrooms where they are most needed.

Now the Robert Noyce Rural Integrated STEM Education Ready (RISE Ready) project will address the urgent need for qualified and adaptive STEM teachers while addressing some of the issues that are barriers to success, with a particular focus in attracting underrepresented minority students into STEM teaching careers.

CSUMB is partnering with Hartnell, Cabrillo, and Monterey Peninsula colleges and the Monterey County Office of Education — all Hispanic Serving Institutions — on the STEM teacher pathway, which looks to improve the next generation of STEM students’ achievement and engagement.

Designed to align career pathway strategies and curriculum with best practices, the toolkit developed a clear framework for assessment, measurement and accountability to support existing career pathways in the tri-county region and foster development of new ones that lead to high-wage and high-growth careers and contribute to the economic viability and strength of the region.

Bright Futures Partnerships Project Manager Josh Warburg said the Career Pathway Toolkit was used to shape each component of the proposal, “to make sure it was clearly connected to the local labor market, to jobs that were going to have lots of openings and in which you could make a good living wage, accessible to students at different stages in their lives and to ensure that the degree program would be structured in such a way that those classes were available to meet those students’ needs.”

The program will recruit students already on a teaching track as well as students demonstrating proficiency in STEM-related tracks.

“It’s kind of a push and a pull,” said Warburg, “nudging people who maybe never thought of teaching as a profession but who may have the skills and interest in doing this.”

The first cohort of Noyce scholars will receive $25,500 for two years and will be recruited from existing CSUMB mathematics, statistics or science students, who commit to completion of two years of service as 6th- to-12th-grade math or science teachers in a high-needs rural school. High needs educational agencies include those with high percentages of families whose income is below the poverty line, schools in which many teachers are teaching outside of their training, or schools with high teacher turnover rate.

Read more about the Bright Futures Career Pathway Toolkit and MBEP’s collaboration with the Bright Futures Educational Partnership to support Career Pathways.
Photo courtesy of CSUMB.