Jackson State awarded $1 million grant for Teacher Residency Academy


Nov. 8, 2011

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University has entered into a partnership with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), Xavier University of Louisiana and seven diverse urban and rural school districts in Mississippi and Louisiana to better prepare middle and high school science teachers. A $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will allow the university to begin the Teacher Residency Academy Alliance (TRA2). The alliance is designed to investigate the implementation of a standards-based curriculum and assessment model to recruit, license, employ, induct, and retain middle and high school science teachers for high-need schools that serve more than 119,000 diverse students.

The TRA2 program will support increasing the number of science teachers in classrooms in Mississippi and Louisiana by developing a novel teacher residency model for preparing science teachers. Science majors are recruited into masters programs that combine course work in the first year with in-service residences in the second year. The graduates leave the program with a master’s degree and two of the required three years necessary to become National Board Certified. Teachers in Mississippi who become board certified receive a $6,000 salary increase per year for 10 years.

“The key to having more and better prepared science students in college is to have more and better prepared science teachers in our public schools,” said Bill McHenry, professor of chemistry at JSU and the NSF TRA2 principal investigator.
Johnnie Mills-Jones, co-principal investigator and dean of the College of Lifelong Learning at Jackson State University, agreed.

“The Teacher Residency Academy Alliance will implement and refine an emerging national model for producing more and better prepared science teachers incorporating features from the medical internship model and provide research data to empirically support the TRA2 model,” she said.

“This new effort supports NBPTS’ ongoing commitment to join alliances that will grow great schools and expand the corps of accomplished teachers across America. Our work will not only boost teacher efficacy in the field of science, but advance student learning in support of tomorrow’s workforce,” said Brian Lewis, interim CEO and Chief Strategy Officer for NBPTS.

The project’s focus on middle and high school science helps make TRA2 unique in its approach to increase the number of high quality, culturally responsive, and licensed middle and secondary science teachers prepared to teach in the nation’s high-need urban and rural schools. Project outcomes of this two-year project are expected to inform the design of additional TRAs that will serve as a novel alternative to the traditional teacher preparation and post-baccalaureate certification programs common throughout the nation.

– JSU –

About Jackson State University: Challenging Minds, Changing Lives
Jackson State University, founded in 1877, is a historically black, high research activity university located in Jackson, the capital city of the state of Mississippi. Jackson State’s nurturing academic environment challenges individuals to change lives through teaching, research and service. Officially designated as Mississippi’s Urban University, Jackson State continues to enhance the state, nation and world through comprehensive economic development, health-care, technological and educational initiatives. The only public university in the Jackson metropolitan area, Jackson State is located near downtown, with three satellite campuses throughout the city. For more information, visit http://www.jsums.edu.

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