Northeastern Illinois University, in collaboration with Chicago City Colleges’ Wright and Truman colleges as well as offices and schools of the Chicago Public Schools, has been awarded a $100,000 Strengthening Teacher and School Leader Preparation grant from the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust. The official name of the project is the NEIU Generation Educator for Middle School: Refining STEM with Pedagogical Content and Literacy (NGEMS).
The programs developed through this grant will create high-impact, equity-focused middle school teacher education programs in math, science, technology and literacy. They will prepare diverse pre-service students including those from racial, ethnic and language minorities, special needs and other underserved groups who have been traditionally underrepresented in STEM careers and STEM teaching to become exemplary teachers of math, science, technology and literacy at the middle grades.
“At Northeastern Illinois University, we believe that in order to best serve the needs of all of the children in the Chicago area, the whole university community must be responsible for the education of future teachers,” Northeastern Vice Provost Vicki Roman-Lagunas said. “The Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust grant to Northeastern supports that vision. The NGEMS grant provides for further integration of arts and sciences with professional teacher education.”
Faculty from Northeastern’s College of Arts and Sciences and College of Education, faculty from Wright and Truman colleges, and teachers from Chicago-area schools will develop programs and courses for pre-service students. The programs will provide students with experiences that lead to developing deep and specialized content knowledge, an understanding of the interconnectedness of all knowledge, the ability to grapple with questions of human impact and the need for civic responsibility, while at the same time engaging them early on in research-based and -focused teaching practices.
As a result of the grant, which was written by Heather Patay, program director of the Math and Science Concepts minor for Elementary and Middle School Teaching, Northeastern teacher candidates will be qualified for the Illinois Professional Educator’s Licenses and the new rigorous requirements to be teachers of mathematics, science and technology in the sixth through eighth grades.