April 5, 2006
Mike Stepanovich, 661/654-2456, firstname.lastname@example.org,
or Jaclyn Loveless, 661/654-2138, email@example.com
A major new initiative to increase the number of high school math teachers in Kern County has been launched by California State University, Bakersfield.
"We want to double the number of highly qualified math teachers graduating from CSUB in three years," said Kamel Haddad, mathematics professor and chair of CSUB's mathematics department.
To do this, CSUB is offering substantial financial incentives to aspiring high school math teachers. Students accepted into the first cohort, which starts in the fall quarter, will be awarded at least $6,500 over two years, contingent upon tutoring 100 hours in a Kern High School District school and achieving progress in the program. They will also and get the opportunity of having up to $19,000 of their loans forgiven after teaching four years of high school math.
"Students will qualify for a minimum of $11,000 in loans," Haddad said. "This is a package that if they qualify – and selection is based on merit and interest in becoming a high school math teacher – they can go to school essentially for free their last two years."
And if you're worried about getting a job after completing your degree, don't. The need for high school math teachers is critical, Haddad said. "In the coming 10 years, the Kern High School District alone will need at least 300 highly qualified math teachers – and that doesn't even take into consideration other school districts in the county such as Wasco, Delano, Muroc, Tehachapi or Sierra Sands. Right now, on average, we're graduating 12 high school math teachers a year. So that leaves us 180 short."
Demand is fueled by two factors, Haddad said: the explosive population growth in greater Bakersfield, and the increasing number of retiring math teachers.
"The teachers who graduate from our program are among the best teachers, so we want to encourage students to come," he said. "This department is committed to giving students the best experience they can have to prepare them for their career."
The program is open to juniors, seniors and graduates, and Haddad hopes to have 15 students in the first cohort to start in September. And, he said, you don't have to be a math major to apply. "The program is open to anyone who wants to be a high school math teacher. This program provides them the opportunity to do it for free."
The program is being funded by CSUB with grants from the CSU Chancellor's Office and the California Student Aid Commission's Assumption Program of Loans for Education, or APLE as it is known. The APLE is a competitive teacher incentive program designed to encourage outstanding students, district interns, and out-of-state teachers to become California teachers in subject areas where a critical teacher shortage has been identified or in designated schools meeting specific criteria established by the state Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Kern High School District is also providing funds.
Deadline for applications is April 22. Those interested in applying are encouraged to call Joy Bratten at (661) 654-2528, or visit http://www.csub.edu/math