Frostburg State University Awarded $4 Million for Maryland Accelerates Teacher Education Program

Oct 8, 2019 4:00 PM

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Frostburg State University nearly $4.1 million over five years for the Maryland Accelerates program, a partnership that is designed to increase the number of certified teachers in Maryland schools, especially in the sciences, mathematics and computer science, as well as to provide a career path for established teachers to mentor new educators.

The program is in partnership with Frederick County and Garrett County public school systems and FSU’s Master of Arts in Teaching degree.

“This grant allows Frostburg State University to build on its historic strength in teacher preparation while addressing the needs of school systems today and in the future,” said FSU President Ronald Nowaczyk. “The goal of this program will be to extend what is learned to other high-need school systems.”

The program is expected to impact more than 40 new teachers, more than 130 experienced teachers who become mentors and coaches, and about 4,500 students in the mostly rural communities with a high need for teachers in these subjects, which are considered critical shortage areas.

The Maryland Accelerates program contains goals that build on one another.

The Master of Arts in Teaching is an 18-month master’s degree program that prepares students for teacher certification. The Maryland Accelerates program will allow those teacher candidates to receive a “living stipend” during the process.

Working with FSU’s Professional Development Schools in the two counties, the teacher candidates will complete a yearlong residency experience, in which they complete the necessary fieldwork in classrooms.

Finally, the experienced teachers in those schools will develop their mentorship and coaching skills, which will prepare them to work with new teachers in an official capacity. This serves two purposes: It is designed to prevent the significant numbers of new teachers who leave the profession within their first couple of years, and it provides a better career pathway for experienced teachers who want to progress in their field but stay in the classroom. Creating professional development pathways is a key feature of the Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, the initiative to improve Maryland’s public education system.

“This innovative program is one of very few teacher preparation programs to receive funding from the Department of Education,” said Dr. Boyce Williams, interim dean of the College of Education. “This program serves educators from the candidate level through to veteran mentor teachers.”

“This is a high-tech, high-touch, high-impact program,” said Dr. Yi Huang, principal investigator for the grant. “This will help position Frostburg State University as the regional anchor for academic innovation and community transformation.”

The first year of the five-year grant will be spent planning and developing the specifics of the program. The first students will be enrolled beginning in 2020.

For more information, contact the FSU College of Education at 301-687-4759.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit the Frostburg State web site or the FSU Facebook page. Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.