A $1.4 million federal grant funded by the National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program will help the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) build upon a successful program that prepares future high school math teachers for dynamic careers in high-need schools.
The NebraskaMATH Omaha Noyce Partnership, which partners UNO with Metropolitan Community College (MCC) and Omaha Public Schools (OPS), will run from Oct. 1, 2019 through Sept. 30, 2024. Over the next five years, the grant will provide scholarships, research opportunities, internships and mentorship to students pursuing careers as high school math teachers.
The program is open to students enrolled in UNO’s Bachelor of Science in Mathematics / Teacher Preparation program, as well as students studying or preparing to graduate from the pre-math track in MCC’s Liberal Arts / Academic Transfer Associate in Science degree program. Noyce Scholars will earn both a mathematics degree and secondary teacher certification at UNO while developing valuable skills, such as culturally responsive teaching techniques, which will enable them to teach effectively in high-need schools.
Since January of 2014, UNO’s NebraskaMATH Noyce program has benefited participating students in three key areas:
- Providing structured internships in teaching and research for first- and second-year undergraduates, referred to as “Noyce Interns.”
- Establishing financial, academic and professional development for third- and fourth-year undergraduates, referred to as “Noyce Scholars.”
- Continuing financial and academic support, as well as professional development, for Noyce program graduates who have gone on to become high school math teachers in high-need schools.
Therese Knipp, MCC Director of Grants, describes the partnership as an example of using best practices to provide students with increased opportunity and optimum results.
“Many MCC students come from the diverse backgrounds that reflect the community in which we live,” Knipp said. “Identifying and recruiting MCC students for the Omaha Noyce partnership will help broaden the program’s diversity in terms of demographics, life experiences, and income, and will enrich the institutional transfer cultures of OPS, MCC and UNO.”
Michael Matthews, UNO associate professor of mathematics, said 21 students have participated in the program since its 2014 launch, more than half of whom are already in schools teaching.
“The impact goes beyond the classroom,” Matthews said. “All of our NOYCE scholars give back by being involved with mentors and their own initiatives, often in the neighborhood of 12 hours a week.”
NebraskaMATH Omaha Noyce Partners will use this second phase program to investigate how active-learning strategies impact the recruitment and success of future math teachers, as well as how community outreach efforts impact the social capital and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) identity of students in high needs schools.
The UNO Math NOYCE Leadership team defines high needs school districts based on percent of students receiving free or reduced lunch in a school or district. Current qualifying districts include Bellevue Public Schools, Council Bluffs Public Schools, Omaha Public Schools and Ralston Public Schools.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.