The state of California has awarded California State University, Los Angeles a nearly $250,000 grant to create a fast track for students studying to become math teachers. The grant from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) will be used to create an expedited Integrated Teacher Preparation Program in mathematics, commonly known as SCOPE.
California is experiencing a shortage of K-12 teachers in science, technology, engineering and math. To become a credentialed teacher in a California high school, a person must have a bachelor’s degree with subject matter competency and requisite professional education. Students very often take more than five years to fulfill these requirements. SCOPE would allow undergraduates at Cal State LA to complete a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, as well as credentialing requirements, within a four-year undergraduate course of study (135 semester units).
“It will be a true feat to prepare a cadre of strong math teachers within a span of four years, but with strategic planning, leadership and support from our administration we can achieve this goal,” said Cal State LA’s Mathematics Professor Debasree Raychaudhuri, the grant’s principal investigator.
SCOPE’s goal is to provide prospective high school math teachers a streamlined pathway to a math bachelor’s degree and a preliminary teaching credential within four years. The SCOPE program will employ a model founded in innovative curriculum redesign, sequenced early field experiences, intensive summer coursework, small cohort size, access to financial guidance and individualized advising and student involved educational research with mentor teachers.
Cal State LA alumni from the Math Noyce Program, which was funded by the National Science Foundation to better prepare students for a teaching career in mathematics, will serve as mentor teachers in the program. The role of the mentor teachers will be to work with the SCOPE cohorts, providing classroom visits and tutoring experience under mentor teacher guidance and/or student teaching opportunities in mentor teacher classrooms. Mentor teachers will also provide a continued line of support to SCOPE graduates when they begin their teaching careers.
“To see our own alumni in action is one of the perks that comes with this project,” said Raychaudhuri, who is observing the mentor teachers’ classrooms as part of SCOPE. Raychaudhuri serves as the credential advisor in the Department of Mathematics at Cal State LA and is the math faculty liaison for the Math and Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI) on campus.
Cal State LA will partner with Los Angeles Trade-Technical College (LATTC) to enroll students into the SCOPE program. During the first two years of the project (2017-2018), Cal State LA will design the pathways, create accompanying literature, develop a website and carry out recruitment activities in feeder high schools of Cal State LA and of LATTC. LATTC students will transfer to Cal State LA after completing their second year of the program. Cal State LA faculty from the Department of Mathematics will be working in conjunction with the University’s Charter College of Education faculty to offer required courses on time and guide the SCOPE cohorts to achieve four-year degree and credential completion.
Both Cal State LA and LATTC will begin admitting SCOPE cohort students in fall 2018 for the 2018-19 academic year. In the near future, the program will be expanded to include more feeder community colleges.
Admission information and program guidelines can be found on the SCOPE website at www.calstatela.edu/programs/scope.